Things have been looking pretty good for director Michael Bay's Transformers: The Last Knight, the fifth entry in the massively popular Transformers franchise. Buzz for the film has been growing for months as Bay and the cast reveal looks at new robot designs, and the director won our hearts when he gave Britain's loneliest dog a role in the movie. Everything was going great for Bay, until he decided to turn Winston Churchill's former home into a Nazi headquarters for the movie.
Feast your eyes on Megatron in Transformers: The Last Knight:
Photos obtained by The Sun newspaper show Blenheim Palace, Churchill's birthplace, completely transformed for The Last Knight. The location was covered in swastikas, with reports noting that extras dressed in SS uniforms were spotted around the location alongside plenty of World War II era military gear. Unsurprisingly, U.K. veterans groups have responded with outrage at the location's transformation.
Bay was quick to defend himself, telling the BBC that, "People have not been fortunate enough to read the script and they don't know that Churchill in this movie is a big hero," further noting that "when you see the movie you'll understand." Blenheim Palace has appeared in plenty of movies, including Kenneth Branagh's 1996 take on Hamlet and 2015 Bond film Spectre, but considering Churchill's leadership during WWII it's easy to see why people would be so offended.
We're mostly shocked to learn that Winston Churchill is in a Transformers movie — perhaps played by Anthony Hopkins? — and that it'll also feature Nazis. From destroying nature to putting cast and crew in danger, Hollywood has a history of questionable shooting locations. Here are just a few examples to prove that the Transformers 5 controversy is nothing special.
1. Apocalypse Now Burned Down A Forest
Director Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now provides a definitive take on the Vietnam War, capturing all the violence, destruction and murky morality soldiers faced on a daily basis. If you've seen the film, it's hard to forget its classic opening, which shows the jungles of Vietnam getting burnt to the ground as helicopters fly over. Shooting on location in the Philippines during the '70s, the crew burned down an actual forest to bring the scene to life. This one was saved from major controversy because it was shot overseas. As Coppola put it, "They'd never let you [do it] in the U.S., the environmentalists would kill you."
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2. The Conqueror's Cancer Controversy
1956's The Conqueror serves as a constant reminder of Hollywood's whitewashing tendencies, starring All-American white guy John Wayne as the legendary Mongol leader Genghis Khan. But it sparked controversy decades after release as those involved began to fall ill and even die from cancer.
The production shot on-location in St. George, Utah, downwind from the Nevada National Security Site. The U.S. military had done extensive nuclear weapons testing at the site several years earlier, though producers were told that any fallout from the tests would not effect the cast or crew. But sure enough, 91 members of the 220 member cast and crew had developed cancer or died from it by 1980, including director Dick Powell and John Wayne. In the end, the cancer controversy spurned discussions on nuclear testing as well as how to ensure Hollywood productions stay safe.
3. Island Paradise Was Destroyed For The Beach
Leonardo DiCaprio's The Beach is a pretty forgettable adventure-drama, which makes it even more maddening that the production destroyed a perfectly good beach on the island of Ko Phi Phi Lee, Thailand. The film's beach setting was supposed to be as pristine and spacious as possible, so 20th Century Fox had the island's beach cleared to achieve the perfect look. Unsurprisingly, environmentalists flipped out at the studio, and actually sued the studio, claiming it had irreparably damaged the island's ecosystem.
4. The Fault In Our Stars At The Anne Frank House
You'd think that shooting for the big screen adaptation of author John Green's young adult hit The Fault In Our Stars would go off without a hitch, though the production faced a bit of opposition when it became the first film to shoot at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. The historic site served as the location where teen cancer patients Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus (Ansel Elgort) share their first kiss, with some calling its use in the story disrespectful to Frank's memory.
And some critics even called out the location as a weak storytelling device, with Variety's Andrew Baker noting, "The film may get away with using cancer to tug the heartstrings, but combining cancer and the Holocaust is at least one trigger too many."
5. Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom Couldn't Shoot In India
Love it or hate it, there's little denying that Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom is more than a little offensive when it comes to Indian culture. Considering all of the Indian characters in the film are portrayed as incompetent or evil, it should come as little surprise that the Indian government refused to let George Lucas and Steven Spielberg shoot in their country. The government demanded major script rewrites, but the filmmakers refused, opting to move the production to Sri Lanka instead.
If you can make it past the Nazi controversy, you can check out Transformers: The Last Knight when it hits theaters on June 23, 2017.