G.I. Joe Flick Adds Dennis Quaid, Channing Tatum To Its Ranks

Summer 2009 movie also features Marlon Wayans, Sienna Miller, Joseph Gordon-Levitt in key roles.

Back in the day, if you wanted to check in with the elite G.I. Joe military team, you had to sneak onto the Fort Wadsworth base in Staten Island, New York, take a massive hydraulic lift down five floors of impenetrable security, and emerge into the top-secret, massive underground base called “The Pit.” These days, all you have to do is pick up The Hollywood Reporter.

Dennis Quaid and “Step Up” star Channing Tatum are the latest additions to the team, cast respectively as Hawk and Duke, the by-the-book leaders of the real American heroes. They join a cast headlined by Sienna Miller as evil leather-clad mercenary the Baroness, Marlon Wayans as relatively obscure skydiver Ripcord, Rachel Nichols as the arrow-slinging soldier Scarlett and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an unspecified character who most likely becomes the evil Cobra Commander — especially if he has a Cindy Brady lisp in the film’s early scenes.

Following hot on the heels of “Transformers,” Hollywood is aiming to keep the ’80s nostalgia alive with the live-action “G.I. Joe” flick based on the most beloved toy of the decade that didn’t have the name “Xavier Roberts” scribbled on its butt. With each passing day, more names are attached to the series’ iconic characters — and the castings already have die-hards debating whether “Joe” looks as inspired as “Ocean’s Eleven” or as ill-conceived as “Justice League.”

Muscle-bound actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (“Get Rich or Die Tryin’ “) has been cast as classical guitarist/ missiles expert Heavy Duty, South Korean star Byung-hun Lee will play Cobra killer Storm Shadow, while Said Taghmaoui (“The Kite Runner”) will be portraying chewing-gum enthusiast/ communications expert Breaker. Finally, Ray Park (“Star Wars” baddie Darth Maul) has been cast in the pivotal role of Snake Eyes — the badass silent ninja whose cryptic behavior and clouded history fueled many a sandbox conspiracy theory during the Decade of Greed.

With embattled director Steven Sommers (“The Scorpion King,” “Van Helsing”) at the helm, the film has already been taking more hits than a Dreadnok who’d dare talk back to Zartan. Even a peripheral peek at Internet message boards uncovers concerns over everything from 27-year-old Tatum playing the John Wayne-like leader to Wayans as the intense Ripcord to rumors that the film will take place 10 years in the future and/or water down its patriotism to appease concerns of a post-9/11 global audience.

While little is known about the plot, the “G.I. Joe” movie is following two decades of attempted live-action adaptations, the latest based on a script by “30 Days of Night” screenwriter Stuart Beattie. In the weeks leading up to next month’s Los Angeles-area shoot, many more casting announcements are expected for such pivotal roles as chrome-domed arms dealer Destro, parrot-loving seaman Shipwreck, eyepatched mercenary Major Bludd, and mind-linked corporate CEOs/ evil twins Tomax and Xamot.

Arnold Vosloo as Zartan? Theater actor David Murray as Destro? Michael Clarke Duncan as William “Refrigerator” Perry? Soon enough, all the rumors surrounding the high-visibility project will present themselves as either fact or fiction. No matter how they shake out, however, the months between now and the film’s August 2009 release date will likely continue to inspire fans to scream both “Yo, Joe!” and “No, Joe!”

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