When the “G.I. Joe” live-action movie finally got a greenlight after more than a decade in development, fans of the series seemed to have two main concerns: That they’d mess up the look of the beloved characters, and that Marlon Wayans would be cracking too many jokes. And while I haven’t got much evidence to shoot down that first fear, I can tell you when we recently caught up with Marlon, he insisted that “The Rise of Cobra” kept his “Little Man” hijinks in check.
“The movie is serious, action and some comedy - but not all comedy,” insisted the star, who will bring an extremely different look to the High Altitude Low Opening jumper in the August 7th flick. “You pull off the reigns; I did what was appropriate for the role and for the character.”
“It wasn’t about ‘Hey, let it be the me comedy show’,” promised Wayans. “It is G.I. Joe. It’s supposed to be badass action. So you commit to it - and I found the fun in being a badass, for once in my life.”
One thing Wayans did not find pleasure in, however, was the jumping-out-of-helicopters part of his gig. “That wasn’t fun,” he said, addressing his director with thoughts of the sequel. “Stephen Sommers, I will say to you: Please, next time, stuntman. A black dude who looks like me? He jumps out of the plane, not the actor. Shoot him, not me. Let’s make sure we bring a black dude to Prague next time.”
He also didn’t particularly enjoy the claustrophobic metal suits that he and Channing Tatum slip into for some of the film’s key, “Wanted”-esque action scenes. “They may look cool, but if hell were a suit, they would be the accelerator suit,” he laughed. “They make you run 45-55 miles an hour [in the movie]. We are doing a high-speed chase, chasing down the Cobra bad guys. We are wearing those uniforms and shooting missiles [in the scene glimpsed in the trailer]. They are really cool, but really uncomfortable.”
Finally, we asked if Marlon gets to deliver any classic G.I. Joe catchphrases in the movie – and he told us that not knowing is half the battle. “Oh yeah, we’ve got them, but I won’t tell you [who utters them],” he grinned. “You’ll have to see the movie. But honestly, I have seen a lot of it - and it looks great.”
How do you feel about “Rise of Cobra” at this point? Will it be “Transformers”-level good, or are they toying with this Hasbro adaptation too much?