Casting Game: G.I. Joe

1980’s Era G.I. Joe.

I have a soft spot for the 1980’s GI Joe cartoon, and fond memories of the toys. Get together with a few buddies and you could have a little standing army of these guys. So much fun.

With the new Joe film coming out this summer, I strapped on the nostalgia goggles and got to thinking. What if they had made a live action movie in the 1980’s, during the height of the toy and show’s popularity?

Here’s my choices for the Joes.

Shipwreck: Jack Nicholson


Writers of the GI: Joe cartoon confessed that whenever they wrote for the character Shipwreck (easily my favorite Joe, yet to be in the current movie adaptations), they just wrote him as Jack’s character from the 1973 film The Last Detail, directed by Hal Ashby (and Neil Ross, the voice actor, is clearly doing a Jack impersonation).

I know purists would say Jack would already be too old for the part circa the 1980’s, and Hal Ashby fans might be annoyed that he’d be doing something of a parody of his character from The Last Detail. I still think it’d be slick.

Roadblock: Carl Weathers

The 80’s were awesome.

Roadblock was probably my second favorite character, and the version of his action figure with the ridiculously huge machine gun was hands down my favorite Joe toy.

Weathers definitely kicked all kinds of ass in the 80’s, with supporting roles in Rocky III, Rocky IV and Predator (which in many ways, was the closest thing we’ve gotten to a real GI Joe movie ) and headlined the joyously over the top Action Jackson.

The sensibilities of the 80’s probably would’ve required that Carl Weathers rhyme his dialogue just as the cartoon counterpart did. Some might argue that Mr.T might have fared better with such a requirement, but I think Weathers could’ve pulled it off. Be sure to check out this scene from the cartoon, which involves Shipwreck and Roadblock, and undoubtedly gave an entire generation of young boys nightmares.

Lady Jaye: Sigourney Weaver

Weaver in Aliens.

Lady Jaye was the most interesting woman Joe to me. I thought her weapons were cool, and she seemed to hold her own better than some of the other female characters.

Weaver would’ve been perfect for the part circa 1986, when Aliens was released.

Such a bad ass.


Below are some of my quick picks to round out the Joe cast:

Landham in Predator

Spirit: Sonny Landham

Landham pretty much played a version of Spirit in Predator. Nearly three decades later, Spirit is pretty ridiculous looking, and is sort of a walking stereotype, but I think a subdued version would be a good character for a Joe film.


Snake Eyes: Jean Claude Van Damme

Again, the 80’s were awesome.

Van Damme stars in the quintessential 1980’s martial arts film, Bloodsport. It’s a given that as a child of the 80’s, I would want him to play GI Joe’s resident ninja.

Bonus: Snake Eyes is mute.


Grunt: John Malkovich

Oddly, Grunt was one of my favorite of the Joe action figures. I suspect it was the first one that was given to me, but can’t remember for sure.

Anyway, Malkovich looks a lot like the Grunt toy. Maybe he could play the straight man to Jack’s Shipwreck, or maybe be sort of a dope like Donald Sutherland in The Dirty Dozen.

Lord. This took longer than I care to admit.




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