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Contributed by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for Radio Free Entertainment
June 19, 2009

Following up on the huge success of 2007's Transformers, Revenge of the Fallen thrusts audiences into the heart of robot-smashing carnage. In this second installment of the franchise, the heroic Autobots and their valiant leader Optimus Prime (voice of Peter Cullen) answer the call to protect earth from destruction at the hands of the malicious Decepticons and an ancient, evil known ominously as The Fallen. Caught once more in the middle of this alien war is Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), despite his best efforts to lead a normal life as a newly enrolled college freshman and build his relationship with his girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox).

In this interview, actors Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson, who play two of the US soldiers who fight alongside the Autobots, talk about working on the movie.

MEDIA: How did your experience of playing military personnel in this movie compare to your experience in the first film?

TYRESE: I would say honestly that the first go-around was so much more intense than the second, because we kind of went into it not knowing too much about the Air Force, the military, Navy SEALs. And for me, I didn't know the difference in the roles, in the responsibilities of each one of the soldiers, and the categories of soldiers. And so I worked closely with someone called a CCT, which is a combat controller, because I have to have dialogue to communicate with all of the aircraft. And so that dialogue is very difficult. And with [director Michael Bay] overseeing the dialogue, we gotta make sure that we cater to the real, authentic dialogue of the Air Force, but yet create a balance of making sure the common folks who don't understand that language could understand it, too. So it was a bit of a challenge, especially with all of the explosions and stuff going on around.

JOSH: Yeah. The first one we had a few days out in Fort Irwin, and then the second time, we just sort of jumped into it. I was in New York, and we just had a bit of a refresher course. But there are military advisors--[consultant] Harry Humphries is out there, there's a number of people from all facets of the military. And I think that we both took a lot of pride in trying to represent the military as closely as we could. I've got a lot of friends in the military and over in Iraq, so that was my main focus, to try to represent them while make them proud. And if we didn't, they would let us know, believe me.

What was the atmosphere like on this production, and what were some of your favorite moments from the set, both onscreen and behind the scenes?

TYRESE: I would say compared to even the first one, I think our roles were so much more serious this time. Because there's so many moments, comedic-wise, throughout the film. And I guess the outcome was Michael wanted us to kind of play it a little more serious to kind of raise the stakes and the pressure of what's really going on. Which was fine. I enjoyed doing the funny stuff to try and create a balance. But I just overall had fun with the experience, and we all vibed and was laughing and having big parties and good energy on the set. [laughs] There's so much pressure on the set. You know, Michael runs a real tight shift. He keeps everybody on edge, everybody's full throttle. I'm like, "Look, man, if I don't do a party, I'm going to go crazy right now!" I tried to keep everybody--all the whole crew, the cast, everybody--having fun while we were working.

JOSH: Yeah, he took the night shift.

TYRESE: [laughs]

JOSH: I guess the most fun I had was the scene...You know, in the last answer, I said that we tried to be as accurate as we could, and [yet] my favorite scene in the movie was throwing the National Security Advisor off the plane. But that's the most fun I had. It was just a fun scene to do. And there was a nice little stunt involved. Yeah, that was probably my most memorable. That or the gigantic bomb that went off.

TYRESE: We made history. The biggest practical explosion in the history of filmmaking that included [the actors]...

We understand you're big on Twitter and used it during this production...

TYRESE: I love Twitter! I took the fans on a world tour to all six, seven countries we went to--took pictures of all of the historical places in Rome and Amsterdam, and I took all of them on tour with me. I told them, "Pull out your passports, I'm taking you on tour with Twitter." I love it.

What do you like about it? The immediacy of interacting with fans directly?

TYRESE: Oh yeah, it's the instant gratification of posting a picture of us just hanging out somewhere, just doing something, or all of these different moments throughout these countries. And the fans get to see these images and things that they wouldn't be able to see unless you sent it on your Twitter. So I love it.

Related Material

Interview with Megan Fox
Interview with ILM visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar
Interview with Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Lorenzo di Bonaventura
Interview with director Michael Bay
Movie Coverage: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen


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