Wednesday, June 24, 2009
By Abbey Khan
The producers, writers and cast talk about what makes Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen different from the first movie, Shia’s hand injury, Megan’s sexy outfits, and what President Obama has to do with the film.
Megan, it’s been great to see your rise to stardom from the first movie. From your perspective, what’s changed for you since the first Transformers?
Megan Fox: The movie, its success and how well it’s received has opened a lot of doors for me careerwise and I’ve been able to be part of some films that I don’t really feel that I deserve to be a part of and that’s due greatly and solely to the success of Transformers. I just did Jonah Hex with Josh Brolin, Michael Fassbender and John Malkovich and in general actors don’t get those kinds of opportunities and for me to have that is a huge blessing and that’s because of the success of this movie.
Any changes in your daily life?
Megan Fox: Sure, I mean getting photographed at Whole Foods or coming out of Rite Aid with your shampoo bottles and stuff, that’s new for me but that’s not that crazy, you acclimate to that pretty quickly.
Megan is in this movie to get men to see it, but how are you getting women to see it?
Michael Bay: What’s interesting about the first one is that is has relationships, parents and kids. Kevin is actually playing my father. That’s very much how my parents were when I was growing up. What was making the movie accessible to everybody was the humor in it and I think that’s how you make it accessible to everyone. Most women hone in on the humor. I’ve also heard a lot of young women say “I just want to see robots kicking ass.”
This film is aimed at children in some respect, yet the dialogue is a lot more harsh and adult, why is that?
Roberto Orci: Steven Spielberg said in a way the first one cinematically is about losing your virginity and the second one is about stepping into adulthood, so part of that gradient difference is a reflection of that move. (joking) And Michael Bay has a filthy mouth.
Alex Kurtzman: I think also that The Goonies was a movie that really struck us when we were about 12 years old because they were swearing for the first time and it was allowed all of the sudden and it was cool and frankly that was how kids talked, and there was something to legitimize the whole experience of it. I think because this movie falls in somewhat of the spirit of the emblem movies that we grew up on, there must have been some borrowing of that as well.
You showed a lot of skin in this movie, did you ever have those moments where you said, “Do I have to wear this?”
Megan Fox: Yeah, I have those moments on a daily basis, but the process of picking those outfits I didn’t have much of a say. I remember Michael was auditioning Ramone and some of the other characters and there was just a room full of men upstairs in his office and—
Michael Bay: It was two young guys.
Megan Fox: No, it was Shia, Ramone, two other actors and you and I had to come up and down and knock on the door and try on all my wardrobe. And I had 18 different outfits and it was like white jean shorts, pink belly shirt, motorcycle boots and we went through the whole thing and Mike was selecting them in the process of auditioning—
Michael Bay: It’s called multi-tasking.
Megan Fox: I had no say, but clearly he has an eye for what should be and not be in the movie so I just trust him.
You named President Obama instead of having a fictional president in the movie, why is that?
Michael Bay: The Obama thing came about because I was walking in a Vegas airport and he was walking by himself carrying his bag and his hanging bag over his shoulder. This was after I had just seen him at the beginning of his campaign and we were walking side by side and I said, “Hey, I saw you and I liked what you had to say the other night. I really liked hearing your stuff.” I introduced myself and he said, “What do you do?” And I said I’m a director. And he said what movies. And I said all these movies and he said “Oh, you’re a big ass director.” So that’s why I decided to put him in.
Where do you see the Transformers franchise going?
Lorenzo di Bonaventura: We don’t really think about the movie until after it opens up. We’re all a little bit superstitious about it and there’s sort of an arrogance about a presumption of success. Obviously, a movie like this is going to be out there and the audience is going to come and one presumes there’s going to be a certain level. On the first movie, we felt the same way, we never talked about the second movie script well after the movie opened and we’re going to do the same thing for the third. You get two advantages by waiting. One is that you get to find out what the fans really liked and if there were things they missed and things that didn’t land properly. And the other is that you can focus all your creative and emotional energy on this one.
What was the most memorable experience working with members of the military?
Megan Fox: They’re all extremely chivalrous and very respectful clearly because they’re disciplined and they’re so much better behaved than the rest of the cast is, including myself. They listen and take direction really well and we’re all f**king off. It adds authenticity to the movie. I enjoyed being able to walk onto the set and it’s a hundred real soldiers as opposed to a hundred actors from Orange County or L.A. It was overall just a really pleasant experience for me and I have an immense respect for our soldiers and our troops.
Megan, how do you react when you see your image on the big IMAX screen and looking sexy?
Megan Fox: I haven’t seen the movie on IMAX and I just saw it for the first time a few days ago when we were in London. I usually don’t watch myself—I don’t watch playback, I don’t look at still photos, I have a phobia of it. I basically shot through an entire glass of champagne so I could get through the sitting of it and I was really really pleasantly surprised and halfway through I sort of overcome with genuine emotion and I wanted to hug Michael because I had gratitude for him for making this movie. It so far surpassed my expectations. I think my character is sexy but in general women in movies are sexy, especially in Michael’s movies and he knows how to make movies that get people in the theater and if that’s part of the formula—
Michael Bay: If you look at the movie, we got that first shot just to get it out of the way for the young boys and then just move on. The rest of the movie is not about sexy.
You incorporated Shia’s hand injury into filming, how did that affect everything on set?
Michael Bay: I actually read it on CNN online and thought that this can’t be true. And I called my line producer and he said that it was true. He said let’s shut down and I said we can’t shut down because when you’ve got a train going it’s so expensive to shut a picture like this down. We had an action scene in the library that they were shooting on Monday and I just said let’s just go for it, let’s not stop, let’s use the stuntman and try to cover as much stuff as we can. Then on Tuesday we shut down, we had to mix and match everything we were pulling from different scenes we could shoot without him. We didn’t know how long he was going to be down and immediately I had to find the best people in the world to make a special cast that’s never been made with Kevlar fingers that are very thin, so you can photograph it. The problem was that if you were to jam his fingers he could lose his fingers forever so we had some experts of the world come up with this design.
Megan Fox: Did it set things back? I think everyone’s very lucky for Shia’s commitment to this movie because he showed up with his injury and acted as though he didn’t have an injury and still went balls to the walls and completely committed and did things that were not safe for him to do, but he wanted this movie to be as real as possible so I think that helped a lot.
Michael Bay: Yeah, we would have arguments. He would take his cast off and I would tell him to put it back on and he would say, “No, I’m fine.” We were just trying to protect the hand.
Josh Duhamel: Remember when he cut his eye and he wanted to come back to work that day.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is directed by Michael Bay and is a Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures production. Watch the action explode on IMAX screens on July 24, 2009.