After Michael Bay tore up the streets of Chicago filming Transformers: Dark of the Moon, set-photo reveals and other new information on the upcoming blockbuster became significantly harder to come by.
However, as Bay puts the finishing touches on the final chapter of his robots in disguise film series, the director has become surprisingly candid about the upcoming action flick - not just talking up explosions and 3D but discussing the future of the franchise after Dark of the Moon.
It's a new strategy for the notoriously outspoken filmmaker to own-up to prior mistakes but Bay hasn't held back, admitting that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was rushed and, as a result, turned out to be "quite a mess." It's safe to say that the recent all-access attitude the director has been sporting recently is a counter-measure to help reassure media outlets, many of which derided the second film in the series with heated vigor, that Bay isn't above taking criticism and is set to deliver a much improved Transformers adventure.
Recently, prior to a media screening of new Transformers footage, Bay took part in round table interviews, and answered a range of questions including his motivation behind shooting in 3D, robot character development, and whether the Transformers series will continue after this film. We've pulled our favorite quotes from the interview session and discuss them below (check out /Film for the full transcript).
Bay had, on numerous occasions, derided 3D filmmaking - arguing that the bulky cameras would hinder his frenetic shooting style. However, in the roundtable he was candid about the motivation behind shooting Dark of the Moon in 3D - pegging the entire thing on 3D-enthusiast James Cameron:
Jim, at the last minute, he goes, "Mike, come on!” This is like my idol, but he goes, “Mike, come on! We’ve done everything.” And I’m thinking, “I haven’t done everything.” He says, “It’s a new toy, it’s a new toy!”
The director also hinted that while his Transformers trilogy is coming to an end, that certainly doesn't mean the studio will simply walk away. However, even if more Transformers films get made, they'll be sans Shia LaBeouf:
I think [Dark of the Moon will offer closure]. But it still can be rebooted. Not with Shia. He’s turning grumpy in his old age.
LaBeouf may have had reason to be cranky, since he'd also admitted previously that the filmmakers learned from the prior installment and promised they'd provide a much more intimate story and a greater focus on the robots. Bay seems to agree:
They do [have more character]. And it’s much more of a back story. This is a very involved robot story.
You just learn a lot more about the hierarchy, and there’s more about the history of what they had in Cybertron. Leonard Nimoy plays a great role. Like I said, he married Susan Bay. I was always scared to ask him.
Bay also disputed claims that the controversial Twins would reappear (and possibly be killed off) in Dark of the Moon - claiming that the team had replaced them with other comedy-relief robots:
Yeah, we got rid of that. There’s two small characters in the entire movie. They start out a bit goofy but they have a huge comeback. And they’re fun. One is new, named Brains.
[The Twins are] not even in it. Not even in it.
Regarding another infamous character/actress that won't be returning, Bay avoided focusing on the past and, instead, built up his new Transformers starlette, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley:
With Rosie? Listen, we auditioned 500 women around the world, and it was just a whim. I remember working with her, and talking to her just as a person, she’s a really bright person. She has this charming English accent. She’s just got a great head on her shoulder.
Denise [the casting director] narrowed it down to 30 women. She goes, “I’ve gotta tell ya, there’s something about this girl that is special.” And it’s always cool to find something special. It’s always cool for the audience to discover something.
Judging by what we've seen of the film so far, there's definitely a strong possibility that Bay will succeed in closing up the saga with the most intense and visually striking installment in the series. Not only has the filmmaker put together a strong cast of new robot actors, he's also culled some fan-favorite human actors to voice key characters, including the aforementioned casting of Star Trek/Fringe star Leonard Nimoy as Sentinel Prime.
A full shot of the heroic Autobot recently appeared on French site Lyricis Interactive.
Check out the picture of Sentinel Prime below:
Jokes aside, I'm genuinely excited to see the rest of what Bay is cooking for Transformers: Dark of the Moon. While it's hard to blame all of the prior film's problems solely on the writer's strike and rushed timetable, the director does seem to have a much better handle on the overarching film experience this round - not just over-the-top action.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon hits theaters on July 1st.