There’s no denying the fact that the Michael Bay-helmed Transformers franchise is a box-office juggernaut, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few dark secrets from behind the scenes. No matter how many people liked these movies, that doesn’t change the fact that there was some serious drama on set that produced some bitter relationships between the cast and crew. Sometimes, the pyrotechnics weren’t the only explosions on set as tensions rose and people started feeling emotionally distant from the material.
Even after five movies full of head scratching moments and behind the scenes problems, the Transformers universe is nowhere near slowing down. Thanks to a new diverse writers room that includes people like The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and Akiva Goldsman, there are 14 potential Transformers movie ideas that could be developed into both live-action and animated feature films to be released in theaters.
The Last Knight might have caught jeers from some audience members, but Paramount is still moving forward with the John Cena-led Bumblebee, set to come out this December, as they try to build their own cinematic universe.
It’s time to roll out like the Autobots and come learn about these 15 Dark Secrets Behind Transformers!
15. Megan Fox Compares Michael Bay To Hitler and Napoleon
Sometimes directors create strong bonds with their performers that enable them to work together on multiple projects over a long period of time. And sometimes the exact opposite happens where a director and certain actors just can’t get along at all.
After working on the the first two Transformers films, Megan Fox had had enough with Michael Bay. Tired of the way she was treated on set and the exploitative shots that were required of her, she snapped and called out her director before production on Dark of the Moon began. Not only did she compare him to Napoleon and said he wants to have a “mad-man reputation,” she said that he “wants to be like Hitler on his sets.”
14. Crew Calls Megan Fox “Unbearable”
All good stories have two sides, and the feud between Megan Fox and Michael Bay is no different. After Fox’s dictatorial comments came out, three members of the crew came together and published an anonymous letter calling out the actress for some of her bad behavior. While they acknowledged Bay can be hard to work with, they described him as loyal and fun.
The crew members, who claimed to have worked with Bay for the last ten years, praised the director for taking this “shy, inexperienced girl” and giving her a big opportunity. Instead of calling her grateful, they said she was “dumb-as-a-rock” and knew how to use her looks and charm to her advantage. The biggest burn in the whole letter was their exclamation that they “actually don’t think she knows who Hitler is.”
13. Michael Bay Storms Off over Musical Fight With Shia LaBeouf
Some artists need to be in the right kind of environment to focus and let their creative juices flow. In order for Shia LaBeouf to get in the right head space before filming the big, emotional ending of Dark of the Moon, the actor plugged his iPad into the speaker system and blasted the Feist song “Brandy Alexander” across the set.
Instead of allowing his actor to prepare, Michael Bay quickly unplugged the speakers and plugged in his own device. To set what he considered to be an appropriate mood on set, Bay played Hans Zimmer’s score from The Dark Knight. LaBeouf confronted the director and things got so heated that Bay stormed off set and the director of photography had to shoot the scene without him.
12. Bay Forced Rosie Huntington-Whitley To Cross The Hot Desert
Before being cast in Transformers 3 to replace Megan Fox, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley had already met Michael Bay. The model worked on a Victoria Secret commercial with the director in the blazing hot California desert. According to Huntington-Whiteley, the first thing Michael said to her was “can you walk?”
The model, who had experience on the catwalk, awkwardly said yes and was instructed to get into a car. After being drove into the middle of the desert, the Huntington-Whiteley was forced to walk back all the way to the cameras. Wearing nothing but lingerie, a long billowing cape and high heels, she had to cross the hard salt flats for what she estimates to be about 10 minutes in 100 degree heat. The model was understandably anhry, but clearly there were no permanently hard feelings since she joined the billion dollar franchise soon after.
11. Shia LaBeouf’s injury
Obviously the giant robots in the Transformers franchise aren’t real, but a good deal of the stunts were practically done. The sets were jam packed full of explosions and zooming cars so everyone constantly had to be careful and vigilant to avoid being injured.
Try as he might, Shia LaBeouf wasn’t able to avoid dangerous situations during filming. On the very first day of shooting, the actor had to run away from guard dogs. Instead of returning to its handler where it was supposed to, one of the dogs continued to chase LaBeouf all around set as others threw chairs to try and distract him.
10. Hugo Weaving didn’t care about his performance as Megatron
Megatron is the main baddy of the Transformers universe. The leader of the Decepticons, Megatron constantly has his eyes on Earth and reforming it into a planet for Transformers. Even though the character has a big presence in the film, voice actor Hugo Weaving, who has been in major franchises like The Hobbit, Matrix and Captain America, never stepped foot on the set or even met Bay.
Weaving said he only worked in the voice booth for about two hours. Performing the work while he was still attached to another project, Weaving admitted that he “didn’t care about it” and said he considered the work “meaningless.”
Bay fired back saying he was tired of actors complaining about their high-paying jobs and indirectly labeled Weaving as a whiner in a statement.
9. Megan Fox Had to Wash Michael Bay’s Car To Audition
Watching giant robots fight on the big-screen is clearly entertaining, but there’s no denying how essential Megan Fox’s All-American charm was to the success of the first movie. The actress, whose popularity exploded as a result of being a part of the franchise, was overtly objectified frequently throughout both films she was in.
While this might not be surprising for a movie that is primarily geared towards young men, Bay made sure the audition process was also overtly objectifying. Instead of asking her to perform monologues, Bay asked the young actress to come over to his house and wash his Ferrari while he filmed her.
8. Changes to meet Chinese film standards
The Transformers movies have all made a billion dollars, but that doesn’t mean all that money comes from the American box office. In fact, the U.S. box office isn’t as important to producers of big action movies because there is more profit to be made from the international market.
Chinese theaters in particular have become a major boom for Hollywood- and the Transformers movies in particular- as the government has allowed more foreign films in over recent years. To make it into Chinese theaters, films have to pass a test to satisfy the government’s restrictive standards. The Chinese companies China Movie Channel and Jiaflix were even involved with the production process and they helped market it and pull in prominent product placements from other Chinese companies.
7. Racist Robots
A movie about giant, transforming robots fighting each other sounds like a home run with families. Multiple action and adventure franchises have added doses of comedy into the sequels with much success, but Revenge of the Fallen slipped up when it introduced Skids and Mudflap.
Twin Autobots, the robots have been a big point of controversy for the franchise. The two often acted in offensive, stereotypical manners while speaking heavily in slang terms that many audience members felt were racist. Even though they are members of an intelligent robot species, they are portrayed as illiterate.
Screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kutzman claim that they didn’t write the characters to be this way, instead it was something that Bay insisted upon during the production process.
6. Auto Deals Kept Foreign Cars Out of First Movie
Michael Bay is into American cars and hot women. Knowing that, not many people expected Bumblebee to take the shape of his classic Volkswagon Beetle when he hit the big screen or for Jazz to be his Martini Porsche. Instead, Bay used his connections with American Auto Makers and struck a deal to save some money. He’d already made commercials for GM, so it was easy to bring in American cars to replace the foreign builds. Only in future movies were foreign cars finally brought into the fold.
Chevrolet’s Chief Marketing Officer has even happily acknowledged how thrilled he is that their cars “get to play the heroes” in such a successful franchise. In his opinion, the movies “have helped [them] get [their] vehicles in front of a younger audience around the world.”
5. Shia LaBeouf Is Not Entertained
Shia LaBeouf has had an interesting few years in Hollywood. Still an accomplished actor, LaBeouf has made a series of stunts and art pieces that have kept his name relevant in the last few years. In 2015, LaBeouf set up a film festival/movie marathon where he and his fans could watch all of his movies in a row. During the Transformers movies, LaBeouf can be seen looking clearly bored and underwhelmed with the movies that made him a house-hold name. At one point, he leaves the theater during Transformers 3.
LaBeouf even fell asleep a few times during the movie marathon because “he thought ‘I hate myself… I’m dying right now'” and recalls falling asleep at the same time as the guy next to him during Transformers 2.
4. The Last Knight Had SIX different Editors
There’s no denying The Last Knight is a bit of a mess. Not only did it generate the least amount of buzz at the box office, but it was packed fill of scattered plot elements that don’t work in a Transformers movie. Nazis and King Arthur are great topics, but not for a movie about giant robots battling each other.
While the directing, screenplay, and acting are certainly important parts of why the final product underwhelmed audiences, the jarring feeling that results from the film having six editors certainly didn’t help. The Last Knight was the first movie released under the supervision of the new Transformers writing room, and the inclusion of more voices in the room resulted in a crowded feeling of having too many hands in the cookie jar.
3. Shia LaBeouf Says Bye To Bumblebee
While Shia LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky ultimately became a big part of the Transformers universe associated with multiple Autobots and Deceptcons, his first Transformer interaction was with Bumblebee. As a high-schooler buying his first car, Witwicky hit the jackpot when the clunker be bought turns out to be a Transformer in disguise, pulling him into a crazy adventure.
Apparently LaBeouf is not a fan of the classic yellow Autobot. Back in 2015, LaBeouf opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about how he really feels. He told the publication that “Bumblebee never sounds real” and that it was hard for him to make it feel real “because on the other side you have a director who doesn’t believe it either.”
2. Michael Bay Says Stephen Spielberg Demanded Megan Fox Be Fired
Directors may get top billing for most movies, but a powerful executive producer often gets final say on key decisions throughout the production process. The bumpy relationship between Megan Fox and Michael Bay has already been talked about in this list, but the explicit reason she was fired hasn’t come up yet. After Fox made those comments comparing Bay to Hitler before production on Transformers 3 started, the team behind the franchise had a mini crisis on their hands.
According to Michael Bay, Steven Spielberg, an executive producer on the project, demanded Bay to fire her from the project as a repercussion. While Fox never returned to the Transformers franchise, she did join the Bay produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so there’s a chance the two have since made up.
1. Mark Whalberg Didn’t Like His Long Hair
Part of the reason Mark Wahlberg makes big Hollywood bucks is his dedication to the different roles he has. Not only has he bulked up and dropped weight for various roles, he occasionally messes with his hair to better encapsulate certain characters.
The problem is, Marky Mark isn’t a fan of the luscious locks he was asked to grow for The Last Knight. He told E! Online that he thought it was “uncomfortable” and even described it as “painful.” On top of that, his kids even make fun of him when he has it up in a ponytail and he said his son “[tried] to rip it out of [his] head.”
Fortunately for him, his wife likes the look at least, but since he’s no longer a part of the Transformers franchise, odds are he won’t have to grow it out again.
Do you have any Transformers movie trivia to share? Leave it in the comments!
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