It is now official: Stuart Beattie is the new screenwriter for G.I. Joe. As I told you a week ago, IESB already had the scoop that Beattie would be writing the live-action adaptation, joining newly appointed director Stephen Sommers (who IESB also had announced first) on the project. Beattie has sort of a strange resume, so it is hard to tell if he's really the best to tackle the movie. He started out as co-writer of an Australian family film about a boy and a kangaroo. Then he did a couple of badly received Australian movies before landing a gig as one of the story writers for the first Pirates of the Caribbean. After that, he scripted the mostly excellent Michael Mann thriller Collateral (his ending could have used work) and penned the adapted screenplay for the so-so thriller Derailed. Since, he's co-written a documentary about a surfing gang and had something to do with Baz Luhrman's upcoming epic Australia and the long-in-works video game adaptation Spy Hunter. The thing to look for, to see if he's worthy of an action-packed pic is next month's vampire movie 30 Days of Night.

Of course, G.I. Joe could be more of a thriller -- one for the whole family, that is -- but I guess it is doubtful. Beattie is probably just a writer for hire who will not have much to say. The basic idea for the movie has already been set up, and not just because at least three other writers have worked on drafts in the past. Paramount has given the simple plot as being about a Brussels-based, co-ed force that battles an evil arms-dealing organization. One thing I hadn't noticed the first time I wrote about that homogenized update is that the head of COBRA is double-crossing Scot. Funny, I never knew this when I was growing up, but after looking up COBRA on Wikipedia, I learned that, yes, Destro was a Scottish arms dealer. But was he head of COBRA? Well, no, that was Cobra Commander, but I at least thought he was a member of the organization. Now I'm confused, but I guess the movie is combining COBRA with something called M.A.R.S. (Military Armaments Research Syndicate), which was in fact led by Destro. Isn't it interesting how much of this specific stuff we don't pay attention to as children? I should go and check out an old episode to see how much I didn't understand the first time.