Right now there are a handful of projects that Michael Bay could direct next that do not involve either Autobots and/or Decepticons, including the long-awaited Bad Boys 3 and a documentary about elephant poaching (which is said to be a passion project for the filmmaker). According to the latest reports, though, Bay may next try his hand at a political drama/thriller that was inspired by real events.
That would be 13 Hours, a film adaptation of Michael Zuckoff's book, titled "13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi". Bay is reported to currently be in negotiations to call the shots on the project, which examines the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. State Department Special Mission Compound in Benghazi (from the perspective of the six member security team that fought to protect the other people stationed there).
THR is reporting that the 13 Hours movie script was penned by Chuck Hogan, who authored the "Prince of Thieves" source material that inspired Ben Affleck's The Town and collaborated with Guillermo del Toro on the Strain book trilogy (the basis for FX's hit vampire TV series that's executive produced by Hogan). The site's sources are also reporting that 13 Hours is planned as a $30-40 million production, which is a far cry from the $200+ million budgets for Bay's Transformers series - and more on par with his 2013 true-story crime film, Pain & Gain.
On a related note, even if Bay does sign on for 13 Hours, there's still a chance he will end up directing Transformers 5. The director previously stepped away from the Hasbro franchise to go make Pain & Gain, before he returned to direct Transformers: Age of Extinction. Transformers series producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, when we spoke to him, indicated that he would be willing to make similar accommodations for Bay (again), if he means he comes back for a fifth bout of robots in disguise.
Bay is routinely (and fairly) criticized for being a style-over-substance filmmaker, whether that substance is Transformers mythology or actual events that (in another director's hands) could've made for an insightful social drama. That said, having a script penned by a capable storyteller (such as Hogan) could be what Bay needs in hand, in order to make a film like 13 Hours compelling on not just the surface (read: as a polished action/thriller), but also on a deeper thematic level.
Erwin Stoff (Edge of Tomorrow) is producing 13 Hours for Paramount, and the latter studio will no doubt want the project moving forward sooner than later - meaning, it shouldn't be too long before we know if this is Bay's next film or not. In the meantime, feel free and let us know your feelings about Bay potentially serving as the helmsman on the Benghazi thriller (as well as the movie in general).
We'll bring you more information on 13 Hours when we have it.