MICHAEL BAY on
'TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN'
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, blockbuster director and action enthusiast Michael Bay talks about some of the ideas that went into the creation of this production.
MEDIA: Obviously this franchise has a lot for fans looking for explosions. What do you think it offers other viewers?
MICHAEL: Well, I think what was interesting about the first one, it's got relationships for the parents and the kids...And you know, Kevin [Dunn] actually is 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. It's not just a fanboy movie.
What do you think women like most about it?
Most women hone in on the humor. There are a lot of young women that say, "I just want to see robots kicking ass." I've heard that before. And I think the relationship between Shia and Megan.
Does the IMAX version of the film include extra footage that the standard theatrical release does not?
It has, I think, probably about a minute more of footage. It's got some more fighting footage that took place in the forest, some additional stuff with Devastator...I have not seen it in IMAX...I'm excited to see that. It wasn't ready till this weekend.
It was interesting that you mentioned President Obama by name, rather than use a generic, unnamed President...
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. And this was after I had just seen him in 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." And I introduced myself, and he says, "What do you do?" "I'm a director." And then he says, "Oh, what movies?" And I said, "Oh, these movies..." And he's all, "Oh, you're a big ass director. And I've seen a bunch of your movies." So that's why I decided to put him in. [laughs]
Did he really say "big ass"?
Yeah, he really did.
Two of the Autobots referred to as the Twins have been coming under fire from viewers. What was your intention in creating them for the movie?
Well, I wanted two kind of younger Transformers. But with those two guys, we used the guy who played SpongeBob, and another actor, and what's interesting when you work with voice actors is, especially with the Twins, they did a lot of improv for their parts. We liked their improv, and from there, we would animate to their stuff. And when you do character animation, when you're building a character, it's not like an actor where you shoot the scene and you've got it and you move on. With character animation, you shoot a bit of the dialogue, you work with the animators, and a little bit more of the dialogue, and you keep going back and forth, and it kind of builds until you finally have the shot that you want. But I just wanted something where it would appeal to younger kids. It seemed to really gravitate to those two characters. It's like the Little Engine That Could with the Devastator scene.