Between Pain & Gain, which is currently in theaters, and upcoming projects Transformers: Age of Extinction and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles creating all sorts of (mostly troubled) buzz, director is, for better or for worse, everywhere lately. Everywhere.
The controversial director recently sat down with Moviefone and discussed, among other things, the latest installment for the Transformers franchise.
On his initial feelings and how he protects the Transformers brand:
See, I was not a fan of Transformers [at first]. Hasbro was talking about giving me a whole Transformers story, and I'm like, "If I can do this really real. If I can make them believable, I think I could have something here." I'm not a Hollywood guy. My friends are normal guys. I've got this guy from Texas. He's like, "Mike, that “Transformers” [movie] seems like a dumb idea." And I'm like, "Yeah, I know, but just give it a second." And then I showed him the shot of the Scorponoks jumping out of the sand with Tyrese [Gibson] running. He saw that image and he went, "I see what you're doing.” You'll always have haters, but the last movie? One-hundred-twenty million people saw that movie. There's still a lot of fans of that franchise. And I'm a huge Transformers fan now, and I protect that brand.
What about taking that wildly successful formula and completely changing it for the next movie?:
You know there are a couple of historians of Transformers. I would do my designs of the robots and they're like, "What if you just add a little bit more ears to Optimus?" But they're really hands off. We've redesigned them in Transformers 4, and there's some really cool sh*t in it. I'm literally redesigning every character, top to bottom. There's a reason why they're redesigned, but it's also to keep it new and fresh to me. I think the fans will appreciate some of this new stuff we have in the movie and some of the new characters.
Lastly, on continuing the franchise after Dark Side of the Moon:
Yeah, and this is literally a true story. I went to the [Transformers] ride in Universal, and there's a two-and-a-half-hour line, and you just see all these kids -- it's the most popular ride they've had since Jurassic Park -- and I'm like... It's hard to let go of your franchise. You don't want someone to fck it up. So I at least wanted to set it up on some good footing. Because you're going to get a different kind of director [who is] not going to want to follow in my footsteps. Directors feel very territorial. So they're going to go to a more inexperienced director. It's just the way Hollywood works. And I'm thinking, 'God, so I'll redesign it, set it up... Someone's gonna fck this up. This is way too big of a thing.' And I'm looking at all these kids and I'm like, 'F**k, I gotta do one more.' And then I brought Mark [Wahlberg] into it. So now we've got a movie star, we've got full redesigns. At least it'll be on good footing.
So there you have it. I'm not entirely sure Michael Bay has realized yet that fans tend to completely resist change, and, while they eventually get used to it, announcing that "redesigning every character, top to bottom" may not be in his best interest to publicly laud when fans are already touchy about the fact the entire original cast has been replaced and the story seemingly flipped on its head.
In the end, none of that really matters, though, because Bay has shown he can put audiences in the theaters, if only because they like to watch big, bright, explodey things and lots of cleavage.
No word yet on when the latest Transformers flick will hit theaters, to [[follow]] along and we'll keep you posted.