Shia LaBeouf, Michael Bay © Paramount Pictures
Shia LaBeouf, Michael Bay © Paramount Pictures
Shia LaBeouf and Michael Bay © Paramount Pictures

Michael Bay is back with his aggressive visual style and high-octane action sequences in the sequel to Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The malevolent Decepticons are still on Earth, in hiding, looking for an ancient Decepticon named The Fallen, that will totally decimate the Human race. So it’s a race against time for Sam (Shia LaBeouf), Mikaela (Megan Fox), the US Army and the Autobots to find ‘The Fallen’ before the Decepticons…

Guys will respond to Megan, but what is in the film for the ladies?

What was making the first 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. Most women hone in on the humor and there are a lot of young women who say ‘I just want to see robots kicking ass’. I’ve heard that before. And I think the relationship between Shia and Megan.

You have some comic character transformers in the film, like the robot Twins. Was that for the kids?

The Twins © Paramount Pictures
The Twins © Paramount Pictures

Well, I wanted two younger transformers but with those two guys we used the guy who played Sponge Bob and another actor. When you work with voice actors, especially The Twins, they did a lot of improv. We liked their improv and, from there, we would animate to their stuff. 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 builds until you finally have the shot that you want. But I just wanted something where it would appeal to younger kids. I think they really gravitate to those characters; like the little engine that could.

Tell us about the decision to use President Obama rather than have a fictional President in the movie.

The Obama thing came about because I was walking in a Vegas airport and he was walking by himself carrying his bag, after I had just seen him at the beginning of his campaign. 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 introduced myself and he said, ‘What do you do?’ ‘I’m a director,’ and he said, ‘On what movies?’ and I said all these movies and he said, ‘Oh, you’re a big-ass director I’ve watched your movies’. So that was quite exciting.

How did Shia’s injury affect everything on set?

Michael Bay © Paramount Pictures
Michael Bay © Paramount Pictures

I actually read it on CNN online and I’m like, ‘This can’t be true’.  I called my line producer, Ian Bryce, and he said, ‘It’s true’. I’m like, ‘Oh my God’. He goes, ‘Let’s shut down’. I’m like, ‘We can’t shut down’. It’s so expensive to shut a picture like this down. We had an action scene in the library we were shooting on Monday and I said, ‘Let’s just go for it.  Let’s not stop. Let’s use the stuntman and try and cover as much stuff as we can’. Then, on Tuesday, we shut down. We had to mix and match everything, pulling from different scenes we could shoot without him. We didn’t know how long he was going to be down. Immediately I had them find the best people in the world to make a special cast that’s never been made with the Kevlar fingers, very thin so you can photograph it because the problem was 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. We’d have arguments. Shia would take his cast off and I said, ‘No. Put your cast on’. ‘No, I’m fine’. ‘Put your cast back on!’ We were trying to protect the hand.

You had to tell him “no” a couple of times and tell him you can’t do this?

Absolutely. Safety, for me, is always the first order. You know, I don’t want that on my back.

Have you heard from Shia, how is his hand is doing?

It’s very good. He had three surgeries. They sculpted a piece of bone from his hip for his fingers, which were very crushed. He had really good doctors.

Have you thought of ideas for the third Transformers?

I don’t know. We’ll see how this one does.

Will you do all your future movies in IMAX?

I don’t know, if it serves [the movie]. But I think it’s a neat idea.


Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.