My fictitious interview with Michael Bay

***All persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental***

 Michael-Bay-and-Mark-Wahlberg-on-Transformers-Age-of-Extinction-Set

In your new film, Transformers: Age of Extinction, you have exceeded yourself with 2 hours and 45 mins of immense explosions, robots, explosions, cars, explosions, dinosaurs, explosions and more explosions.

Why thank you but don’t forget the love story between a young woman, her boyfriend and her father, that also came amongst the explosions.

 

2 hours 45 min is a lot of screen time. Was that a hard sell to the studio?

To begin with yes but once I had shown the storyboard with the dinosaurs they realised that this wasn’t something you could rush. Especially as the dinosaurs need their own specific type of explosion and we didn’t want that to get lost on the cutting room floor.

 

Your films have become well known for their diverse use of cinematic aesthetics: slow motion, lens flare, high angles, low angles, very high angles, very low angles. Since the last Transformers movie you have been adding 3D to this range. How does that change things?

Although it has its critics I see 3D as just another great part of the filmmaker’s tool-palette. If you want to engage your audience in the battle scenes it’s really great as you can throw dirt at them. If you want to engage your audience in a snow scene then you can throw snowflakes at them. If you want them to really appreciate the Transformers then you can throw bits of robots at them. If you want them to feel what it’s like to be in an exploding skyscraper then you can throw shattering glass at them. The possibilities are really endless.

 

It’s really interesting that one of the first sequences is set in an abandoned movie theatre. Were you trying to make a point about the art form?

I think sometimes we’re all just a little too deferential when it comes to talking about cinema so I thought, why not show some fun men kicking a football around the auditorium. It’s time to liven things up and have a bit of fun with the old cinema concept.

 

There are some pretty smart one-liners in this film. Is that something you take pride in?

It’s a funny thing because after we spent all the budget on the CG effects and creating the flash cars we realised we had forgotten to employ a screenwriter. As I sat around talking about it with my buddies we all imagined what the characters might say and it just kind of evolved from there. We did early screen tests with some of the local frat boys and they were really cool with it so we knew we were on to a winner.

 

With all the exciting battle scenes – you’re crossing two different continents here – was it hard to fit in strong character arcs?

Character whats?

 

Nicola Peltz playing 17 year old Tessa Yeager must represent one of the youngest female Transformer’s protagonists yet. Wait, is it fair to call her a protagonist?

Oh yes absolutely. Because Tessa is only a young woman she does spend a lot of the film screaming, cowering, shaking and looking for the love of her man but Tessa is also totally kick-ass. We made sure to include seconds, actually multiple seconds, of her fighting back against Galvatron’s army. You see her kicking things (her long legs really helped with that), rolling under things (she’s really skinny so that was easy) and running away from things (we thought it was a really smart move to design her costume so that she was in boots not heels).

 

What about some of the accusations that you might be sexualising a teenager in this portrayal?

You know that is something I take really seriously and we all thought about it for a long time. That’s why we have this really important speech at the beginning of the film where Lucas says she’s hot but it’s okay because she’s a teen-ager not a teenager and her dad really fights back, saying that’s not cool. By making that speech kind of funny it allowed us to relieve the tension and address the elephant in the room. We call this type of thing catharsis. It allows us to get all those problems out of the way so that during the rest of the film audiences can take pleasure in what is a very healthy, beautiful young body. Also, even though we repeatedly mention that Tessa is a teenager, Nicola is 19 in real life and audiences know that so it makes it much more okay for them to see her as a sexual figure.

 

We’ve got a new type of weapon in this film, something called the ‘seed.’ Is that a metaphor for something else?

I’ll leave it for audiences to interpret it for themselves but, you know, without a guy’s seed none of us would be here.

 

It’s really common for Hollywood to include product placement these days. You seem to have some very striking examples.

It’s funny because I get a lot of stick about that but the whole scene with Bud Light was there because I really do enjoy Bud Light and if robots had just attacked me I would want a long hard suck on some Bud Light. When we got to China I realised that their milk cartons are really delicious so it just made sense to have one of the characters take a drink from it. And you know what, Victoria’s Secret is everywhere in China.

 

What can we look forward to in the next one?

I don’t want to give away the ending but we see Optimus Prime heading to a different territory and so I’ve already got a team of designers working on the type of explosions that will be most appropriate for where he ends up.

 

Thanks Michael. On a final note, what do you say to the haters?

They love to hate, and I don’t care; let them hate. They’re still going to see the movie! I think it’s good to get a little tension. Very good… I used to get bothered by it. But I think it’s good to get the dialogue going. It makes me think, and it keeps me on my toes, so it’s good.

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