In Transformers: The Last Knight, Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) is hiding out in an old junkyard with the Autobots - including Grimlock and a couple of baby Dinobots - when a gift from an ancient, dying Transformer lands him in a new world of trouble. Armed with a Cybertronian artifact, Cade takes up the mantle of the Last Knight - heir to the legacy of King Arthur. However, he's not the only human character in the movie who is key to saving Earth from destruction.
Laura Haddock (whom Marvel fans may recognize from her roles in Captain America: The First Avenger and Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2) joins the Transformers universe in The Last Knight as Vivian Wembley, a Professor of History at the University of Oxford. There's more to Vivian than just books and brains, however, as she soon learns that she is the last living descendant of Merlin - who was actually an old drunk who posed as a wizard, and whose "magic" came from a Cybertronian staff given to him by a Transformer Knight. Since the staff was coded to Merlin's DNA, Vivian is the only human capable of controlling it and keeping it out of the hands of the devious villain Quintessa.
To find out more about Vivian, Screen Rant caught up with Laura Haddock ahead of Transformers: The Last Knight's global premiere in London. Check out a video of the interview above, and a transcript below.
What is the experience like filming a Transformers movie? Because there’s a lot that you can’t see that’s going to end up in the movie, so how would you go about visualizing all these giant machines?
Laura Haddock: Yeah. You just have to be able to use your imagination and really just make believe and throw yourself into that. Know that this is a heightened sense of reality – cars turn into robots. If you think what you’re doing is too big, it’s probably not. You can probably go bigger. And also, I found that I really, really, really had to be able to listen to Michael [Bay, the director] and really understand exactly what he wanted because he can already see the final picture. So he’s already edited it. You have to work really fast. No one’s got any time for you to be like ‘So I didn’t understand what you meant.’ You just have to hear it quickly and then do what you’re told and use your imagination.
What was it like seeing that culture clash of Transformers and Arthurian legend? The two kind of mesh together better than you think, but was it odd seeing those two?
Laura Haddock: Yeah, I agree with you, yeah. So, initially you’re like ‘How is this going to happen? How are we going to be able to relate to all this?’ But you do. I think with these movies anyway, you just let everything go and suspend disbelief and you just go for the ride. And Michael always manages to piece together ideas that you think wouldn’t necessarily blend and they do beautifully. I think this has a really clear storyline and actually when I first read it, I was like, ‘So, when that happens, where did we just come from?’ ‘Don’t worry about it. You’ll get to know.’
I’m from Oxford, so it was wonderful to see my hometown on the big screen and in a Transformers movie, which I wouldn’t expect. What was it like filming here in England?
Laura Haddock: Awesome. I mean, Michael literally took us on a tour of the UK. He just basically looked at a book and was like ‘Where should you go and visit?’ And he just went to visit and filmed there, and then blew it up. So yeah, it was awesome. We did Blenheim Palace, we did Stonehenge, we did the university in Oxford, we did quarries in Wales. It was just amazing, actually. He took us on a tour of my home.
And Vivian has quite a key role. She has the grand destiny in this film, so what’s your favorite part about playing that character?
Laura Haddock: Again, she wasn’t the kind of character I expected to pop up in a film like this. I loved how strong she was, how independent she was. The fact she was this medieval professor and she played polo. She is so unlikely to be in this world. And, I was excited about seeing whether or not that was going to work and hopefully it has worked. And of course, like you said, she’s predestined for this particular mission, and that’s obviously super cool – knowing that’s your journey.
She and Cade are from very different worlds, and they’re kind of thrown together. So what was it like working with Mark [Wahlberg]? Was he fun to work with?
Laura Haddock: Mark’s so much fun to work with. He’s so hard working, so prepared. But also, just has so much fun. He’s so silly. And he’s really, really funny. And he loves doing the improv stuff, which I do as well. And we just really played on that whole ‘two people from different worlds,’ may as well be speaking different languages, completely culturally different. It was a lot of fun. A lot of fun. Sometimes, some of the improv was a bit close to home though. I was like ‘Awww… I mean that was another cup of tea joke.’ [laughs] But we had a lot of fun.
And Vivian has the same introduction to Transformers that Sam does in the first movie, in that she finds herself inside Hot Rod. What was that scene like to film?
Laura Haddock: That’s what’s so exciting. It’s obviously not when you’re filming it, so you’re just again – it’s all about make believe and it’s a lot of physical reaction stuff and go big or go home in those situations. And then when you see the final product, you’re like. ‘Oh that’s so cool that my Citroën just turned into Hot Rod and now I’m being taken off – ‘
Did you get to drive the Lamborghini?
Laura Haddock: I didn’t drive the Lamborghini. I drove the Citroën. I drove the Citroën a lot.
It’s basically the same thing.
Laura Haddock: Yeah. My little Citroën only got to 35 MPH stick shift. First there’s a Lamborghini that just blows your face off.
If you could have any vehicle turn into a Transformer, what would it be? Even if it’s just like a bicycle.
Laura Haddock: Any vehicle… Oh I’d quite like – so I’ve got a little boy, he’s 19 months and he has just so many weird trucks. So he’s got this little scooter, and it might be fun to what his little scooter would turn into. Probably look quite similar to Squeaks. Something like that.
Directed by Michael Bay and starring Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel, Anthony Hopkins, Laura Haddock, Jerrod Carmichael, Isabela Moner and Santiago Cabrera, The Last Knight shatters the core myths of the Transformers franchise, and redefines what it means to be a hero. Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Saving our world falls upon the shoulders of an unlikely alliance: Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg); Bumblebee; an English Lord (Sir Anthony Hopkins); and an Oxford Professor (Laura Haddock).
There comes a moment in everyone’s life when we are called upon to make a difference. In Transformers: The Last Knight, the hunted will become heroes. Heroes will become villains. Only one world will survive: theirs, or ours.
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