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. I said Hugo weaving was the real problem! Who cares about Jarvis!

    • Thank you Michael Bay. Thank for calling out spoiled thespians.

    • Well, if there’s anyone who can speak authoritatively on doing a job that is not artistic enough, it’s Michael Bay.

  2. Bay is right, but he still comes across as a whiner.

    • no, he is right, i´ve made a quite same statement about the voice over work for -jarvis-, wwhere he also don´t care for his voicework and the movie, where he get like bay listed a paycheck from 200.000 dollar or more for 1,5 hour work. he is absolutely right. bravo,bay !

  3. Hugo was saying his experience working on Megatron was meaningless.
    Not that Megatron was meaningless or T 4 had a meaningless character.

    What Weaving describes, including not even having read a script, sounds
    by definition meaningless and very different from the other roles he played.
    Maybe Michael at first though Hugo was knocking the film which he was not.

    • I agree, this is so silly, and taken completely the wrong way. Of cause it’s going to seem meaningless to him if his lines are taken out of context, he said himself he didn’t read the script, just his lines. You can even see a behind the scenes video on Youtube where after reading one of his lines Hugo says “But what does it all mean?” A lot of the times it is how he said, “here are your lines, you’re angry, you’re sad, whatever, Action!” Sometimes voice actors don’t know what it all means until they they see the final cut.

    • I totally agree. He was just explaining how he regrets that he didn’t really have any link to the movie and that he didn’t even know what it was about, so in that way he was “meaningless” since he couldn’t really get into the role. He even said “I don’t mean that in any nasty way”. People in the media love to twist meanings to create controversy though.

      In any case, they should have just gotten Frank Welker to do Megatron from the beginning. That was a major disrespect to bring Cullen back and not Welker. It was confusing to have Optimus sound the same and not Megatron. At least they used him for Soundwave and Shockwave later on though.

  4. Weaving first attacks the Cap America franchise and now hes attacking Transformers? He’s painting a serious bullseye on his chest and no matter how good or prestigious of an actor he may think he is, those comments are totally unwarranted.

    If it were up to me I’d make it so he would never get another job in Hollywood. I have absolutely no respect for this actor and while he does have some (some!!!) talent, Hollywood is better off without him

    • well then, thank god it isn’t up to you, eh?

      • Ha exactly

    • Wow, you are incredibly overemotional over this. Weaving wasn’t attacking Captain America, Transformers or Michael Bay. He was doing an interview and the interviewer asked him what it was like to work on Captain America and Transformers and Weaving told the truth. That’s it. If an actor shouldn’t have a career in Hollywood because he or she doesn’t like every role that they do then no actor would have a career in Hollywood.

    • Yeah go cry to your mommy about it.

  5. Michael Bay, I’ll work for you on any film. I’ll take 10% of what Hugo Weaving makes in a year. I thnk I know who Michael Bay is voting for… and it’s not the incumbent…

  6. I agree with bay. Weaving came off exactly the way that bay called him out for. Good for him.

  7. Well I think anyone can make the voice of Megatron so no worry about it. Michael Bay movies can be meaningless and all but here in Mexico we use to say “never bite the hand that feeds you”

    • that´s a good word, here where i come from we say the same. some here don´t understand it, that these peoples opinion is snobbish about their works were they weren´t with full passion with the movie or voiceworks. in bays words: i i always get sick of the actors million dollar paychecks and that they than complain about their jobs that did took in that fact 1,5 hours. and also i like the fact that bay says that they think that the people are interested for the reason that their artistic work wasn´t enough.


    • Lol mr smith. Even I missed that.

      • Mr Smith would be Brad Pitt. LOL

    • But remember Hugo agreed to do Transformers knowing what is expected of him (go in a booth read lines and make $$) and then signed a 3 picture deal. And hey most voice actors I’ve seen all seem to be happy with there roles like Peter Cullen. And I don’t really see whats dull about voice acting, it has to be done and most enjoy there work.

    • Jerry Bruckheimer is a producer, not a director. In fact, Bruckheimer has been Bay’s producer on many of his films, inc. Bad Boys, The Rock, Armageddon, The Island, etc etc. think of it as Bruckheimer Presents Another Big Bad Bay project.

      • Weaving is gourmet cheese compared to Bay’s week old yoghurt.

  9. HA! Michael Bay is talking about “integrity”? Give me a break.

  10. As much as I like him for sticking up for his beliefs, to actually b**** about making more money in under 2 hours than what most people make in a year is a little ignorant. He probably bashed on Captain America more because he had to show his face and is always going to be associated with the atrocity that is captain america.

    • Cap was way better than the Transformers movies, and was one of my favorite Hugo Weaving roles. I don’t see how Cap was bad at all. Care to explain?

      • Its the most hatted out of all of the Phase 1 movies. On IMDB its the lowest ranked out of Phase 1. It didn’t make as much money as Marvel was hopping for. The biggest action scene was a montage. Bad action. Somewhat of a weak story. Much of it was just stupid (jumps 20 meters over a fire or isn’t really a soldier more like a mascot). A WEAKKK villain who looked like crap and was not threatening at all.
        If you like the movie good for you just know many people will disagree with you on that. Oh and Transformers are way more poplar than Captain America. It also had decent 3D.

  11. Is it really all that surprising that Michael Bay is tangled up in a war of words with ANOTHER one of his former employees (i.e. Megan Fox). It says a lot more about what type of guy he is in terms of how he works professionally. I’m not saying Hugo Weaving wasn’t wrong being as ungrateful and downright complacent as he was. The amount of negativity on his part was just as pointless and classless as Bay’s low-blowing rebuttal. I mean, if he will so eagerly bash a highly credible actor as publicly as this, what’s stopping him from being even harsher toward his colleagues behind closed doors or better yet shrouded by the noise polluted sound stages he’s so accustomed to? Honestly, these guys both need to learn a lesson in industry etiquette, especially when they are each collecting high-class checks from the very blockbusters they are “whining” about. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  12. Isn’t it funny that Bay, of all people, talks about integrity?

  13. The vibe I’m getting is that most people think hugo is a great actor (including himself). He thinks transformers and cap are beneath him. Can somebody inform me of a film Hugo is brilliant in? I’m pretty sure he owes the sci-fi/fantasy genre a huge debt.

    • The Matrix 1,2 & 3, V for Vendetta, The wolfman why are you knocking his craft??? the man has been acting since the late 70s & has surely paid his dues. and he is brilliant.

      • My fault, I wasn’t being clear, for the record I don’t think the megaton thing is a big deal. But if you’re contracted to appear in more movies as the red skull then some professional courtesy should be expected. If I started slagging off the business I work for in a public forum I’d be disciplined for gross misconduct and probably fired. Explain to me why it’s ok for him to do it. Yeah, Hugo gave Oscar worthy, nuanced performances as agent smith, v, and that pointy ears guy.

        • Well clearly the business you work for has those type of clauses built in, which may be something they think is necessary for whatever reason. But actors do a movie, then for various reasons are asked questions about them, in which case they can either lie or give a straight answer and move on.

          These films have come and gone and unless studios are getting ultra-paranoid about their products, I doubt they would or could ever place stipulations in contracts saying a performer can only put positive spin on projects they are working on or have worked on. The funny thing is Weaving didn’t even say anything that comes across as being negative towards the films, he just commented on his work in the movies and how he felt about it.

          • Everybody has a right to an opinion. Just not in a public forum about a job you’re still contractually obliged to perform in. If you’re worried the role isn’t for you (or creates some conflict between how you’re perceived as an actor vs. the need to earn a living) research the part and then make an informed choice. He decided to accept the job and take the payday as would most people. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sure the megatron issue matters. He’s so masked under effects I doubt anyone would realise it was him (I didn’t). In paul bettanys case for IM 1+2 he basically amounts to a cameo. Hugo is however playing two iconic villians whether he thinks it’s valid or not. What irks me is that he’s built his career on genre movies but aside from priscilla queen of the desert he’s not been in much that most people would consider ‘award worthy’. If he wants to live a more noble life I’m sure he can earn more than enough to support himself treading the boards somewhere. As far as the red skull goes he didn’t have to amp up the cheese factor as much as he did. I loved Cap but he was the weakest element of the movie

            • Being in a movie doesn’t contractually obligate you not to say anything some might perceive as negative after the film has wrapped and been released. And in essence he didn’t say anything about the movies at all, he talked about his own role and how he felt about it.

              The issue of him appearing to be down on so-called genre films is just something fans have manufactured when ever someone speaks candidly about a role they have played. Odd are most of the people involved in many of these genre movies don’t care about the material or in some cases even the quality. They just do the movie, take their money and say whatever they think they need to say to get into a sequel.

              He is not the first actor to speak his mind about his work in a popular film (Ewan McGregor in Star Wars), and hopefully he won’t be the last. The movie business is full of people who are in constant spin mode, and maybe if more of them were more honest about the work they did there wouldn’t be so much over-blown, needlessly expensive movies of mediocre to bad quality made.

  14. How ungrateful from weaving. An hour and 43 min and he receives $200000 then says it was meaningless . Well Nobuddy put a gun to his head to force him to voice megatron. May b he should give the money to charity then

  15. Hmmmmmm… first we have Paul Bettany and his comments about his voice work as Jarvis and now Hugo Weaving shares with us his thoughts on Megatron.

    And they both don’t appear to be comic book fans.

    What’s going on??

    • Ont get studios that shell out large amounts of money for known actors to simply do voiceovers. Tons of no name actors would love those roles, take scale and be grateful for it and i very much doubt the general audience would know the difference. Hell until just now had no clue he was the voice of megatron.

  16. Michael Bay is a talentless hack at best, a complete bigot at worst. The amount of venom in Bay’s ultimately moot rebuttal against Hugo Weaving is gushing with so much venom it’s toxic.

    If anything, Weaving’s take on his experience on the last Bayformer film should be a wake-up call for any would-be directors if they expect something from any of their cast to add to the final output of the film, whether it is on set or behind a microphone inside a sound booth. Hugo Weaving felt isolated in the process, and this goes to show a side Bay’s filmmaking philosophy that Bay obviously is pissed for anyone to criticise him on.

    That’s my take, anyhow. Bay can whine all he wants. I’m with Weaving, and I hardly regard him among any “entitled” actor troupe.

  17. If it was truly meaningless then give the check back or donate all of it!

  18. Hugo Weaving can say whatever he likes, if he didn’t feel satisfied by the job and felt it meaningless so what, the whole Transformer franchise is unsatisfying and meaningless, the sooner they quit making them the better!
    I love how michael bay messes with history to fit in the plot, in transformers 4 – the war on terror, we find out that 9/11 was actually an attack by the decepticons and that the twin towers were actually huge autobot dicks that held enough cyber sperm to re populate cybertron! Bin laden is actually megatron in human form and the autobots and a crack team of navy seals spend the next ten movies looking for him, which leads to the epic conclusion of Transformers 14 – Mega Binned Off and Blown Up, Mega Bin Laden is caught killed and dumped over the side of a ship whilst being filmed by Kathryn Bigelow and he documentary team, amen to that!

  19. I love how people get bent out of shape when an adult makes a comment about a job they did. Just because he got paid doesn’t mean he isn’t allowed to have an opinion about his own experience doing the work. Hugo wasn’t even nasty about it, he was just being candid about how he just went in and read some lines that he really had no clue to what was going in the rest of the movie.

    Bay’s response on the other hand is reactionary and defensive on his part. He complains when fans don’t like what he does in films, so maybe he should remember that he gets paid more than a lot of people (not just Americans) to do what he does. I also find it laughable that he is trying to come across as being so concerned with the state of the world and integrity, when his movies are sprinkled with so much racist, sexist and jingoistic themes.

    • Exactly.

      Since when are actors, or highly paid people, not allowed to complain? I appreciate the sincerity.

      Bay sounds like a child with his response, and it is so tacky tying this thing into his charity.

      Can’t believe the people on this website are siding with Bay. Remember that when he gives you a crappy Ninja Turtles.

      • The sad thing is he has supporters, on this, and other like websites. It’s kinda sad.

  20. So he doesn’t like the genre? So what?

    I’m pretty sure not everything everyone does in every aspect of their jobs they love. I currently have watched Thomas the Train Engine stories so much I wake up singing the theme song and can recite the lines. It drives me up a wall. However, it’s part of my job. Therefore, I suck it up. It is not meaningful, it is not important. It is part of the job.

    Apparently, when someone waxes poetic about not liking an aspect of their job (and other people LIKE what they are talking about) they are not entitled to that feeling…

  21. Wow Hugo Weaving is on a roll. For someone whose notoriety is 99% build on these types of movies he sure likes to smack his gift horse. Almost makes me more sick than Michael Bay does. If he starts knocking the Matrix and LOTR, it will be like saying, “That Hugo Weaving guy has made a really crappy career for himself. Why exactly does he keep choosing these “terrible” role?

  22. The amount Weaving made on Transformers might seem astronomical to fanboys, but is piddling compared to what Michael Bay has earned for essentially reducing his career to an endless recycling of disposable junk for undiscriminating viewers to eagerly devour (and then, ideally collect all the action figures). No, fanboys, Weaving is not “King of the Nerds”… but he never was. That was your own distorted imagination based on a handful of roles. More often, he’s acting in small independent films or onstage, and taking a lot less money to do so BY CHOICE. Yes, pretty much any actor will grab a chance to do a bunch of silly robot voices for a couple of hours if it pays well.

    Chris Rock famously mocked his talking zebra roles (at the Oscars, no less) as being not much work for an easy payday… this wasn’t controversial, and people happily lined up for the next Talking Zebra movie. Likewise, if Weaving had said Happy Feet was meaningless, no one would have noticed, though it’s a similar number of lines and an equally limited character. (At least in Happy Feet, you hear Weaving’s real voice, not layers of artificial processing.) By the content of most comments, I can tell most of those angry at him are angry not because of what Weaving actually said, but because he failed to immerse himself in Transformers (or Captain America) mythology and happily be your monkey (or play That Guy You Love To Hate) in perpetuity. This is the same artificial sh–storm William Shatner encountered when he told legions of Star Trek fans to “get a life” in an infamous SNL sketch years ago. Too many fans proved his point by getting all in a lather. This isn’t ingratitude on the actors’ part, but on yours, because you expect them to only act in the movies you enjoy, playing the same sorts of roles over and over. Weaving said he was glad to have done both TF and Captain America, but simply wanted to move on. I respect that. That shows integrity and honesty. In contrast, Bay is acting like a petulant child, to the extent of posting and deleting insults, and treating charitable contribution (which Weaving already does plenty of, incidentally) as some sort of ego-magnifying wedge in a pissing contest the other person never intended to start.

    Every one of you has done work you found meaningless because the pay was good. A paycheck does not buy fawning adoration, or perpetual indentured servitude. And if someone continually prodded you about meaningless work while you were trying to discuss something you cared a lot more about, and had worked a lot harder to achieve, you might be as honest as Weaving– just not as polite.

    • The attitude of many of the actors who have done voice over work is just them being honest. Movies like Transformers seem to be more and more about post production, and there are times when people who work on the film probably never interact with the director. I doubt it’s any different than people doing commercial work, it’s not something they are going to feel passionate about or even have much to say about it.

      Weaving wasn’t really being rude about it, he was just speaking on how the job felt to him. And as usual I’m sure this was a situation where the question was raised by the interviewer, Hugo just answered the question like a grown man who isn’t trying to kiss up to whoever.

  23. Michael Bay is acting like a pathetic child. It didn’t sound like Weaving was trying to insult Bay or the Transformers films. Everyone at some point in their life does work that they don’t like. An interviewer was simply asking him what his experience working on those films was and he told the truth. In fact, I would say he was very polite about it. Bay is the whiner here, not Weaving.

  24. I wonder if JEJ complains about Darth…

  25. I would say that the voice actors maybe feel out of touch with the project because frankly they are not really part of it. LOL but when it comes to Michael Bays Transformers who would or would want to feel in touch with such a pile of crap and disgrace that those movies are.

  26. In one way I sympathize for Hugo, another way I agree with Bay.

    Personally, if I were to hire an actor to voice over a work, I’d treat them the same way as the other actors. It’s only appropriate since I have them as “employees.” They need to know who their boss is on the project. Like Ridley Scott does.

    On the side of Michael Bay, I do agree, to do an hour voiceover…. for $200,000, why are you complaining? Like how J.J. Abrams complained about the massive over budget for films today and the studios making very little in the risk they take.

    So… I *shrugs* I’m not a professional, just another amateur filmmaker myself.