G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) Poster


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Martial artist/stuntman Ray Park had little knowledge of the G.I. Joe saga, but as a child he had played with a Snake-Eyes action figure. He was thus delighted to play a childhood hero of his. To prepare for the role, he practiced wushu training and studied Snake-Eyes's appearances in the G.I. Joe (1985) comic/television series. Afterwards he approached writer Kevin VanHook and artist S. L. Gallant with the idea of a G.I. Joe comic further exploring his incarnation of the character.
Ripcord says "you have lifelike hair and a kung fu grip!" Hasbro used the same line in TV commercials for the original G.I. Joe action figures.
Just before the race to the Eiffel Tower, Breaker takes Duke's last piece of bubble gum. This is an homage to the Breaker comic book character, who was often seen or reprimanded for chewing gum during missions.
Rachel Nichols burned herself, and Sienna Miller sprained her wrist, while shooting a fight scene between Scarlett and the Baroness.
Ray Park was nervous about wearing the ninja suit and asked to practice with it at home so that he could be comfortable with it. He found the suit (composed solely of rubber with a metal visor) like wearing a rubber band, and had to put effort into moving in it.
Byung-hun Lee, who plays Storm Shadow, had no knowledge of the G.I. Joe saga, but was advised by the filmmakers not to learn about his character, letting his portrayal stand by itself. He describes Storm Shadow as defined and driven by two conflicting facets: "huge pride and a sense of honour."
The scar under Duke's right eye is an homage to the famous scar on the original 12" G.I. Joe figure, introduced in 1964. It was added as a copyright mark, to prevent unlawful reproduction.
James McCullen alias Destro is the head of M.A.R.S. Industries. In the G.I. Joe universe, "M.A.R.S." stands for "Military Armaments Research Syndicate"; it is also a reference to Mars, the Roman god of war.
The marking on Snake Eye's right shoulder come from the Eight Trigrams. The top marking is Water, the lower marking is Fire. Together, in the I-Ching, the symbol means "Completion".
Rachel Nichols was the first choice for the role of Scarlett O'Hara.
In real life, "G.I. Joe" was a generic term for general infantrymen in the United States Army during World War II. In an early script for this film, G.I.J.O.E. was going to be used as an acronym for "Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity." It was later decided not to go this route after a huge outcry from Joe fans and patriots prior to the movie's editing.
Lorenzo di Bonaventura originally envisioned Mark Wahlberg for the role of Duke.
The filmmakers enjoyed working with Dennis Quaid so much that screenwriter Stuart Beattie created 10-15 more scenes for him.
Dennis Quaid took the role of General Hawk on the insistence of his son, a fan of G.I. Joe.
Rachel Nichols, a blonde, plays Scarlett, a redhead. Nichols dyed her hair red for her previous film Star Trek (2009).
Not screened for critics.
During the tour of The Pit, Hawk tells new recruits that "knowing is half the battle." The same line was used in public service announcements at the end of the G.I. Joe (1985) animated series.
As Duke and Ripcord avoid the missiles launched from the Steel Crusher A.P.V., the camera moves in front of them and briefly slows down, framing the two men with an explosion behind them: just as in the card art for the 1980s figures.
To prepare for her role as the Baroness, Sienna Miller spent four months in weight training and boxing, and learned to fire live ammunition.
Channing Tatum originally didn't want to act in this film because he felt it glorified war. He changed his mind when he read the script. His friend and Stop-Loss (2008)-co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt also encouraged him to sign on.
Sam Worthington was considered for the role of Duke, but turned it down due scheduling conflicts with Avatar (2009).
Dennis Quaid filmed all his scenes in the first two months of production.
Marlon Wayans was cast as Ripcord after his performance in Requiem for a Dream (2000). Wayans is also a fan of G.I. Joe (1985).
Stephen Sommers took great care over the technology depicted in the film, going through various books/magazines about weapons technology. He feels that almost 100% of the technology can be developed within 10-20 years.
In an interview in Top Gear (July 19, 2009), Sienna Miller, said 112 cars were destroyed during filming. She also said it was a record number of cars destroyed in a movie [at the time of the interview].
There are over 250 explosions in the movie.
In the Pit, a pair of skis is seen hanging from a pillar. These were the apparel of the JOE soldier Snow Job, who is an expert skier and who operates in snowy conditions.
In the Pit, a red shirt is seen on a wall. This is the common outfit of the JOE soldier Bazooka.
112 cars were crashed during filming. This beat the previous world record of 104 cars crashed during the making of Blues Brothers 2000 (1998). The figure of 112 does not include cars that were blown up.
Common was offered the role of Roadblock, but when he turned it down the character was changed to Roadblock's cousin Heavy Duty played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
Dennis Quaid describes his character Hawk as "a mixture between Chuck Yeager, Sgt. Rock and a naïve Hugh M. Hefner."
According to Brian Goldner, the writers took their inspiration mostly from Larry Hama's G.I. Joe comics, and not the G.I. Joe (1985) animated series. Lorenzo di Bonaventura admits he feels the Cobra Organization, as depicted in the cartoon, was "probably the stupidest evil organization out there!"
The Paris action scenes were filmed in 14 days in Dejvice, Czech Republic, in Prague. Filmmakers built shops with flowers, changed school names, and parked many old French-manufactured cars in the area. The Barron's laboratory was filmed in Vysocany in the headquarters of the big company Sazka.
The accelerator suits are designated "Delta-6". This is a reference to the similarly-designated series G.I. Joe: Sigma 6 (2005).
When given a painkiller on the G.I. Joe transport after Ripcord and Duke's unit is ambushed, Ripcord jokes that Duke was "Government Issued", which is what the G.I. stands for.
Don Murphy was going to produce the film in 2003, but he made Transformers (2007) instead. Mitchell Amundsen was the cinematographer of both films.
Stephen Sommers felt that this was the closest he would get to making a James Bond film. It pays homage to several 007 films.
According to Stephen Sommers, total invisibility is impossible, but the camouflage cameras in the film (they project the view from a soldier's back onto their front) can allow for virtual invisibility.
The COBRA nanomites, which decay metal, are colored green to resemble fungus, which can also decay metal.
The Baroness derisively calls Duke and Ripcord "real American heroes", the tagline of the G.I. Joe series.
The Cobra Night Raven in the film differs greatly from its comic book and G.I. Joe (1985) animated counterparts. In the comics and the series, it's based on the SR-71 Blackbird. In the movie, it's very much like the MiG-31 from the movie Firefox (1983).
Snake Eyes' pursuit in Paris described him as a man who "never gives up", words from the theme to the animated G.I. Joe (1985) series.
The film's title "The Rise of Cobra" is a reference to "The Revenge of Cobra", the second story arc of G.I. Joe (1985).
Karolina Kurkova, a model who took a second, more satisfactory career in acting, plays Cover Girl, a fashion model who joined the team for a more fulfilling career.
The nano-mite storyline originated from the comic-line "G.I.Joe Reinstated" back in October 2001. The technology was used by Cobra as both as a bio-weapon as well as a bio-boost for their troops.
Sheldon Lettich was offered to write and direct a "G.I. Joe" movie for Warner Bros. in the early nineties. The project didn't happen for a number of reason.
The interior of Destro's submarine was based on a Handley Page Jetsream plane.
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The Delta-6 accelerator suits delighted Stuart Beattie and made him write up "a car chase where one guy's not even in a car!" However, they were bulky and heavy for the actors to wear and for any planned sequels their use will be reduced.
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Heavy Duty was originally named Lamont Morris, but the name was changed to Hershel Dalton. However, his code number ("807-46-LM65") contains Morris' initials to honour him.
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The first two levels of the Pit (G.I. Joe's underground base) were constructed at the Downey soundstage; the rest is CGI.
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Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner chose screenwriter Michael Gordon to do the script on the basis of his work for 300 (2006).
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Olga Kurylenko was considered for the role of the Baroness.
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Cobra Commander's history has varied over the years. In the comics, he was a salesman who succumbed to megalomania. In G.I. Joe (1985), he was a member of a secret society.
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Duke and Ripcord train with FN model FS2000 Tactical series assault rifle in NATO 5.56x45mm (.223 Rem). During the elevator sequence, the Baroness uses an H&K MP7 in 4.6x30mm. Both are very real, very successful, futuristic-looking weapons. Snake Eyes' pistol is modeled on the FN Five Seven semi-auto pistol, which is also a real weapon. Instead of energy-based projectiles, the real gun shoots small-caliber 5.7x28mm rounds.
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Larry Hama:  Hama, the creator of G.I. Joe (1985), was hired as a creative consultant on the film. He also got a cameo, as a NATO general during the nanomite presentation. The role was cut during editing, and he can only be seen in wide shots of the NATO assembly.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

A post-credits scene was planned, in which famously mute ninja Snake-Eyes tells a joke to the G.I. Joe team. Larry Hama advised against it because it would detract from the seriousness of the film, as well as go against the core of Snake-Eyes' character, who has always been portrayed as a complete mute.
Sienna Miller took the role of the Baroness because it did not involve "having a breakdown, or addicted to heroin, or dying at the end; it was something that was just maybe really great fun."
There are several connections to the Alexandre Dumas père work "The Man in the Iron Mask":
  • the obvious mask worn by the elder MacCullen and his descendant's new face

  • the events involving France

  • and the concept of replacing the head of state of the most powerful nation with a perfect double.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt joined the cast when he was shown the mask he would wear as Cobra Commander.
In the final battle, Heavy Duty says "Yo Joe!", the original battle cry used in G.I. Joe (1985).
Best friends Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt star as Duke and Cobra Commander, who are archenemies in the film.
Cobra Commander's mask was redesigned, partly because filmmakers thought the original version was too similar to a Ku Klux Klan mask.
Skip Woods wrote an early draft of the film, which featured Alex Mann (aka Britain's Action Man) and the evil Naja/Ryan, a corrupt CIAgent. Scarlett is married to Action Man but still has feelings for Duke, and is killed by the Baroness. Snake-Eyes speaks at the start, but his vocal cords are slashed during the story, rendering him mute.
At the end, the G.I. Joe team is on an aircraft carrier that appears to be the USS Flagg, bearing the number 99. The toyline and comic books featured the same ship.
While Karolina Kurkova described being part of the film as an amazing experience, she was upset that she didn't get to take part in any action sequences, due to her character, Cover Girl, being killed off by Zartan.
In the scene where the Nanobot kills the President's secret service members, they show he has the Nanomites behind his ear. They form the Cobra symbol from G.I. Joe (1985).
A clue to Zartan's mission can be found early in the film. When first seen, Zartan is sitting at a table aboard McCullen's submarine reading a book. The book is on the Bill of Rights, and he makes remarks about USA government inefficiency, so he is preparing himself for his future role.
David Murray was cast as Destro, but dropped it when he had problems with his visa. He was replaced by Christopher Eccleston; however, the character was named James McCullen XXIV, thus enabling Murray to film a flashback scene as the first Destro, James McCullen I.
For the voice of the Cobra Commander, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was partly inspired by Chris Latta's voice from G.I. Joe (1985), but he also used a bit of his own imagination as he felt that copying Latta's voice fully would be unoriginal and ridiculous.
The Eiffel Tower is destroyed with the Nanomites by Cobra. In the miniseries G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (1983), Cobra uses the MASS Device to make the Tower disappear.
Body Count: 186.
The concept of COBRA nanomites was inspired by the G.I. Joe comic "The Trojan Gambit", which featured COBRA technology.
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