Michael Bay & Hugo Weaving Disagree on ‘Meaningless’ Megatron in ‘Transformers’

Published 3 years ago by , Updated October 23rd, 2012 at 8:28 am,

Michael Bay Hugo Weaving Megatron Transformers Michael Bay & Hugo Weaving Disagree on Meaningless Megatron in Transformers

While director Michael Bay was busy charting a new course for the Transformers franchise in Transformers 4, actor and voice of Megatron, Hugo Weaving, spent some time reflecting on his past roles as well as upcoming return as Elrond in The Hobbit. Our write-up focused heavily on Weaving’s comments regarding a possible return as Red Skull in The Avengers 2 – with the actor stating, “It’s not something I would want to do again [...]  Contractually, I would be obliged to, if [Marvel] forced me.”

He went on to say, “I think I’ve done my dash with that sort of film” – later pointing to his work as Megatron the Transformers trilogy as “meaningless.” Understandably, Bay was not pleased with the comment and fired back.

The original Collider interview was innocent enough, when asked about whether or not he’d be returning for Transformers 4, Weaving said:

No. That’s a weird job for me because it honestly was a two-hour voice job, initially. I was doing a play and I actually didn’t have time, anyway. It was one of the only things I’ve ever done where I had no knowledge of it, I didn’t care about it, I didn’t think about it. They wanted me to do it.

However, the more that Weaving expanded on his thoughts, the more they moved away from being open and honest about his reasons for doing the film and, instead, strayed into what could be considered a disapproval of the final product:

In one way, I regret that bit. I don’t regret doing it, but I very rarely do something if it’s meaningless. It was meaningless to me, honestly. I don’t mean that in any nasty way. I did it. It was a two-hour voice job, while I was doing other things. Of course, it’s a massive film that’s made masses of money. I just happened to be the voice of one of the iconic villainous characters. But, my link to that and to Michael Bay is so minimal. I have never met him. I was never on set. I’ve seen his face on Skype. I know nothing about him, really. I just went in and did it. I never read the script. I just have my lines, and I don’t know what they mean. That sounds absolutely pathetic! I’ve never done anything like that, in my life. It’s hard to say any more about it than that, really.

Transformers Megatron Michael Bay & Hugo Weaving Disagree on Meaningless Megatron in Transformers

Regardless, Weaving’s comment that the role was “meaningless” and that his connection to Bay was “minimal” caught the attention of the blockbuster director – resulting in a heated open letter on the official Michael Bay site. The post has since been taken down but, thanks to Cinemablend, you can read the complete text (note: Bay mentions The Hollywood Reporter likely because THR was the first to focus on the “Megatron” part of Collider‘s interview):

Do you ever get sick of actors that make $15 million a picture, or even $200,000 for voiceover work that took a brisk one hour and 43 minutes to complete, and then complain about their jobs? With all the problems facing our world today, do these grumbling thespians really think people reading the news actually care about trivial complaints that their job wasn’t ‘artistic enough” or “fulfilling enough”? I guess The Hollywood Reporter thinks so.

What happened to people who had integrity, who did a job, got paid for their hard work, and just smiled afterward? Be happy you even have a job – let alone a job that pays you more than 98% of the people in America.

I have a wonderful idea for all those whiners: They can give their “unhappy job money” to a wonderful Elephant Rescue. It’s the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Africa. I will match the funds they donate.

Regardless of how fans might feel about Bay’s Transformers adaptations, Weaving’s comments could come off as a bit pretentious – especially given the amount of money (likely $200,000) he was paid for what Bay describes as “one hour and 43 minutes” of work on the original film.

Hugo Weaving Cloud Atlas Michael Bay & Hugo Weaving Disagree on Meaningless Megatron in Transformers

However, it’s unlikely that Weaving actually meant to disparage the Transformers franchise, Michael Bay, or the Megatron character and was merely attempting to compare the way he used to approach roles to his present (increasingly selective and artistically challenging) interests. After appearing in numerous high profile blockbuster roles over the years (Mr. Smith in The Matrix, Red Skull in Captain America, Megatron in Transformers, and V in V for Vendetta), often hidden behind make-up and CGI (see: his role as Rex in Babe: Pig in the City), it’s no surprise that Weaving is attempting to play-up his preference for nuanced performing – given that he’ll appear next as six different variations of the same soul in Cloud Atlas.

While Bay and Weaving fans might be hoping for a high-profile gossip column battle, it seems pretty clear that once Bay cooled down from the initial shock of seeing Weaving’s comments in the trades, he thought better of making a big deal out of the interview. Of course there’s always the possibility that Hasbro phoned the director up and made it clear Bay needs to play nice – since they might be planning on Megatron toys for their Transformers 4 line.


Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on Transformers 4 as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

Transformers 4 is scheduled to hit theaters on June 29th, 2014

Sources: Collider, Michael Bay [via Cinemablend]

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  1. Okay… Weaving doesn’t really care for the Megatron role, why not give it to the original: Frank Welker. Rather hear the voice of the individual who helped mold the original Megatron character.

    • Didn’t I just read the same thing about JARVIS on Iron Man?

    • Have you actually herd that guys voice?

  2. Bring the original megatron voice actor to the series. He seems to be having a blast doing voice work for transformers prime.

    • He is Megatron.

  3. The funny thing is Michael bay is disrespectful to the fans by making half assed movies of my favorite childhood movies…whether it be Transformers, Miami Vice or the upcoming Teenage Ninja Turtles disaster.

    The fact is Michael Bay wouldent be able to make these lifeless shells of authentic and satisfying successful properties with the millions of fans who shelled out their hard earned allowance in order to purchase Action figures, Television DVDs and other related properties

    • Miami Vice?

    • Miami Vice was another Michael. The one they call “The Mann”. :D

    • I dont think the guy is disrespectful. He is just who he is. In his mind his ideas are great. And the studios who hire him think he is great for all the revenue he generates. Hate him all you want but untill his pictures stop making hundreds of millions of dollars he is here to stay. And his “vision” is here to stay as well.

      • I don’t know about you guys but as a fan of earlier Bay films and Transformers I feel like Michael Bay sucks now. The Transformers name brings in the fans for his movies, however, his movies are debatably getting “worse” and more like a leech for money. He reuses footage from The Island in a large production like Transformers tells you he isn’t really giving much effort and obviously cutting costs in some areas of the film. He’s putting together movies that have lots of action and name so he’s still recognized as one of the best directors but he’s really no longer doing anything “noteworthy”. I wish Bay would stop cutting corners as a director of this caliber and actually make masterpieces. Most likely Bay wouldn’t give to be a legendary director as opposed to a millionaire. Will Smith falls in the same boat, stop trying to promote your son and focus on your own films.

        I think Weaving raises a good point, if anyone in the project feels meaningless it really should make a difference. Even if Weaving never felt it was meaningless, Michael Bay needs to do his work and not reuse ANY footage. I think Megan Fox and Hugo Weaving are onto something regarding working with Michael Bay and it’s MEANINGLESS. Bay took it to heart which means its true.

        Hopefully someone remakes Transformers one day and beats Bayformers.

    • Transformers 2?? The one he thought was the greatest film of all the films released during the writers strike? HA!

    • And if I remember correctly Sean Connery wanted to smack him when they did the Rock. And he publicly blamed McGregor and Johannsen for not having enough star power to carry the Island, which is why it didn’t make money. Then there was the whole Megan Fox deal, where nobody came out looking good. Bay seems to be able to dish it out, but he can’t take it.

      Thing in this case is what Weaving said really isn’t an attack on Bay or anyone else. This reaction just makes Bay look like he has a thin skin about his projects for whatever reason.

  4. It’s hard for me to be impartial since I really like Hugo Weaving and don’t care for the Michael Bay. It’s clear that HW meant that he had very little connection to the part and thus it mattered little to him. He’s admitting it was essentially a paycheck job.

  5. Can’t believe I’m saying this but… Michael Bay has a point. He’s still a crazy @$$ jerk with no directorial talent (IMO), but he has a point.

    Why would an actor complain about doing a job if he got paid, and knew exactly what said job would entail. If he thinks it’s meaningless, why didn’t he stop voicing the character after the first movie? (He did the voice in TWO sequels as well). It’s not like he really NEEDS the money is it? The guy has been in some of the biggest franchises in cinematic history – the job could have gone to someone who needed it more… and would have been HAPPY and ENTHUSIASTIC about doing it.
    If I got paid $200 million just for two hours of work, I’d be smiling for the rest of my life.

    … I still have massive respect for Weaving though (and Paul Bettany for that matter). Both have tremendous talent and Weaving is one of the best actors of his generation IMO. I’m just at a loss with the way they think…

    • How was he complaining about the job? what was so unlikeable about the job that had him complaining about it?

      Let me scroll up and see what his chief complaint was….

      Ok he did have a complaint of sorts. He complained that he had his lines and had no idea what they meant. He did them as paid to do.

      If anything he puts the blame on himself for not getting to know more information about the job/role. However they wanted him it was a job he could do (while doing another job) so why not?

      He did not say the hours were painful, he never said MB was difficult to work with, he didnt complain that the charcters were not fleshed out etc.

      It took him 2 hours to do. He probably (compared to other roles) felt cheap afterwards but hey its a job.

      • … he still complained lol.

        • >.<

          • An expression of dislike is not equal to complaint.

            • A complaint suggests a grievance.

              Meaningless implies a lack of grievance or otherwise.

              • Well I took what he said as a complaint… it sure came across that way (to me at least) when I read it.

        • Bay took his comments the wrong way. Hugo even said he meant no disrespect but he was just being honest. Isn’t refreshing to hear such honesty? It was what it was, a s***** movie with a s*** job and a good paycheck attached. It’d be like expecting the chef who works at a high end restaurant doesn’t occasionally dial it in. It was an interview where Weaving was asked questions that lead him to share his thoughts. If he would have gone out of his way to sound like a dick (like just openly publishing a letter to nurse his bruised ego) that might be a different story. I like Bay movies, but they are what they are and to say we all are not a little disappointed by his rendition of Transformers would be a gross understatement.

    • you obviously need to go back to school first befoe you get a job like that because MB did not even get 200 million…. it was 200,000 (thousand)
      so that is why you do not get a voice over gig! you need to know how many decimal places there are between 200,000 and 2,000,000 although it may only be 1 decimal place its 800,000 difference in pay I WIL DO IT FOR 20,000

  6. Fu hugo weaving good maybe they will get Frank Welker who should of voiced Megaton anyway from the start.

  7. Holy Cow he was complaining about The Red Skull role too. LETS LYNCH HIM!!!

    ” It was good to do it and try it out, but to be honest, it’s not the sort of film I seek out and really am excited by.”

    • I agree. I think the reaction about both these “complaints” was undeserved, and I didn’t really see them as complaints at all, more like comments on experiences that he regretted not being more into, or ones that were good at the time but that he didn’t really want to repeat.

  8. Well Hugo is certainly having a good week isn’t he? He’s starting to sound like Chevy Chase as to being disgruntled. Goes to show having a good career that makes you a lot of money doesn’t necessarily make you happy.

  9. Can someone tell Hugo to shut his yap for a while? At least a couple months please?

  10. I agree with Hugo.

    “Transformers” movies are completely meaningless.

    • yes but if they offered a low life like you a role for $20 bucks u’d take it. Same as Weaving didn’t know he was the voice and didn’t care take your 200,000K and STFU

      • Is that you Hugo? Chill with the personal attacks dude.

  11. As a former sound engineer (in the industry for seven years), I think it would have been better if Mr. Weaving had just not said anything about his voicework other than a few neutral statements. The man is entitled to his opinions, but he was also doing an interview that he knew many, many people would learn about. Work is work, and very few talented people get to the level of achievement he’s obtained. Tact, Mr. Weaving. Tact.

    mac :]

    • and maybe he wanted to have his opinions known. Many people think voice work is much different than it is. The fact that Hugo gave a realistic representation about that should be applauded. It can be a hollow experience for the actor who is used to working closely with a director who helps the actor nuance the performance. To admit to never meeting Bay only goes to show Bay needing a bit of tact. To not even meet the soul behind your antagonist is lazy and shows that Bay has his priorities other places (special effects, cause it ain’t character development). All Weaving said was he was unhappy with the process, a just opinion despite how much he got paid. Money doesn’t equate happiness, and nor does it buy mandatory silence despite people seeming to think so (that is usually called a bribe). Tactlessness would seem to exist in Weaving’s statements if Bay had given Hugo the same attention he gives his special effects team, but he didn’t, leaving Weaving to feel like this really was a paycheck job, which Bay did nothing to change, so why should Hugo give a s*** about what he says about a job that gives him an equal amount of soullessness?

    • So if someone doesn’t have only good things to say during an interview then they should just say no comment from now on? People will still take that statement however they want and commence to complain that the person is complaining, so what would be the point? He was asked a question, and he gave a straight answer that really was not very negative.

      Bay on the other went out of his was to make a public statement about this, just like he does whenever someone says something that bruises his ego. He also found a need to come out and tell fans (who pay his even more outrageous salary) to “chill out”, about the plans for the Ninja Turtles movie.

  12. I never realized what an unattractive man micheal bay is.(From the picture posted) He is almost scary looking…LOL. 200,000 for voice work that was less than 2 hrs ? Good lord…I mean…It didn’t even sound like weaving after it went through the sound process. I guess if Megatron is back in the 4th, they’ll go with the original voice actor.

  13. You know what I love? I love how we ask these celebrities questions that we want honest answers to, we finally get a guy who answers honestly, and now he’s a whiner and a complainer? Are you kidding me? I didn’t have an opinion on Michael Bay prior to reading any of this, I didn’t care for his work but really never thought much of it, but he has put himself on my radar and in the worst possible way. Anyone with any semblance of intelligence whatsoever can see that Hugo Weaving was just answering a question honestly, and being far from insulting in doing so. Michael Bay is an idiot, and I will never watch another film he directs. Unreal.

  14. “Hugo Weaving says his voice over work in Transformers is meaningless”.

    Then again, the same can be said for ALL of Michael Bay’s films.

  15. I hope he returns for Megatron (or Galvatron as it seems every fan wants; please bring Megs back) in future sequels. Hugo’s Megatron voice offers that threatening, deep-toned voice that fits the Decepticon leader perfectly.