Michael Bay Talks TRANSFORMERS AGE OF EXTINCTION, Expanding the Universe, Why He Doesn’t Use a 2nd Unit Director, TRANSFORMERS 5, and More

by     Posted 151 days ago

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I love talking to Michael Bay because he always says what he thinks and doesn’t hide behind media-trained answers.   While many vilify him no matter what he does, Bay has an original style and eye for framing that I think is unique and cool.  In addition, no matter what he’s done previously, he always manages to push the boundaries of technology and special effects to another level, like his latest movie, Transformers: Age of Extinction.  Loaded with almost non-stop action, a great new villain (Lockdown), Dinobots, and an ass-kicking Mark Wahlberg, Transformers 4 really is the beginning of a new chapter in the Transformers universe.  Also, Bay has peppered in a lot of interesting questions about the history of the Transformers and I’d imagine the next sequel (or sequels) will unravel the mysteries.  While Bay could have just done another Autobot vs Decepticon story and most fans would have been satisfied, I’m glad he pushed the franchise forward with new characters and questions.  I look forward to where it goes from here.

The other day, I landed a great video interview with Michael Bay the day after the world premiere in Hong Kong.  He talked about expanding the universe, the challenge of making a Transformers movie, what new film technology has excited him, using the Phantom camera on a cool action scene, why he doesn’t use a 2nd unit director, whether he’ll return for Transformers 5 and where the story might go, how he’s always wanted to make a movie about poaching, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

If you missed our exclusive video interviews with Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor, or Li Bingbing, click the links to watch.

IMAX_3D_Digital_Camera_4K_Michael_BayBefore getting to the interview, a huge thank you to Michael Bay for giving me so much time at the junket and to everyone at Paramount Pictures for inviting us to cover the junket in Hong Kong.

Michael Bay:

  • Shows off his amazing digital camera.
  • How the film expands the Transformers universe.
  • Says a bit on where Transformers 5 might go.
  • Will he be back for Transformers 5?
  • Talks about the challenge of making a Transformers movie and how it’s everyday for two years.
  • Pain & Gain talk.
  • Talks about how he’s always had “this African elephant idea” for a movie that’s about poaching.
  • What new film technology has he seen that’s he’s excited use on an upcoming project.  Talks about working on a mocap stage.
  • How he doesn’t have a 2nd unit director on his films.
  • Tells a great story about filming an action scene in Transformers: Age of Extinction.


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  • Matt

    I…can’t…even…

  • Kal3ek

    Haha finally

  • P862015

    the living legend

  • Diego Fernando Salazar Proaño

    I know people is gonna hate for saying this but I believe this guy, for better or worse, was born to direct Transformers. I really can’t think of another person who could bring the same level of awesomeness (at least regarding to the action scenes) to these characters. I honestly can’t.

    • Pierre V. Wilson

      Other Directors: Sir Ridley Scott, The Late Tony Scott and Peter Berg.

      Michael Bay said in a recent interview that he is tired of this franchise and maybe his friend Peter Berg is going to be the Director of TRANSFORMERS V(3D).

      • Chad

        You mean the Peter Berg who directed Battleship, a Bay ripoff? Yeah.

      • Diego Fernando Salazar Proaño

        Sir Ridley is highly unlikely to ever touch Transformers (don’t ask me why, I just can’t see it), maybe Tony Scott but he was at his best directing hardcore action movies. Peter Berg is the most likely of the bunch but Bay is in another league staging and directing action scenes. Berg is more in line with Mann’s style of action (Battleship notwithstanding).

    • Pierre V. Wilson

      Other Directors: Sir Ridley Scott, The Late Tony Scott and Peter Berg.

      Michael Bay said in a recent interview that he is tired of this franchise and maybe his friend Peter Berg is going to be the Director of TRANSFORMERS V(3D).

    • TimeTravelMan

      Michael Bay was born to make awesome R rated action films not shit like Transformers.

      • Diego Fernando Salazar Proaño

        Yes, but Transformers looks less “like shit” when directed by Bay.

    • TimeTravelMan

      Michael Bay was born to make awesome R rated action films not shit like Transformers.

    • unknown

      Michael bay is the best in filming the franchise and I hope he comes back for the next sequel.

    • unknown

      Michael bay is the best in filming the franchise and I hope he comes back for the next sequel.

  • Lance Mitaro

    Um… yeah.

  • TigerFIST

    That was a beautiful shot I. The film and I love Michael Bay but FIRE KRUEGER!!!! HE CANT WRITE!!!!

  • TigerFIST

    That was a beautiful shot I. The film and I love Michael Bay but FIRE KRUEGER!!!! HE CANT WRITE!!!!

  • TigerFIST

    That was a beautiful shot I. The film and I love Michael Bay but FIRE KRUEGER!!!! HE CANT WRITE!!!!

  • MrAjd1n .

    Why you didn’t ask him about BAD BOYS 3? How long we must wait, 20 years for the 3rd part of the movie? :(

  • MrAjd1n .

    Why you didn’t ask him about BAD BOYS 3? How long we must wait, 20 years for the 3rd part of the movie? :(

  • Pk

    Wow this guys ego is off the the charts. And what is with Steve sucking up to him so much? Pain and gain is awesome? Really??

    • pg13myass

      Bay looked bored. And Steve is just all up in his ass. Not insulting the interviewer, but you just come off so blinded by your love for bay and all things bay that you just don’t see how unprofessional this interview comes off.

      • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

        No. He doesn’t look bored. He looks uneasy about having to read our harsh comments on his interview.

      • Mike

        What?

      • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

        what is what ?

  • Pk

    Wow this guys ego is off the the charts. And what is with Steve sucking up to him so much? Pain and gain is awesome? Really??

  • CJ

    BAD BOYS 2 is the pinnacle of everything that is Michael Bay.

    Despite what you think of him and his movies I could listen to him speak for hours about the technical aspects of film-making.

    • DEADP00L

      So let him teach filmography and stop trolling us with Transformerless movies.

  • http://www.youtube.com/whatchef The Cookinator

    Will we ever see A transformers movie that looks like G1?

    • Sammy

      Nope. That would mean staying true to the spirit of the original. Bays Optimus Prime likes to kill his crippled rival when he has his back turned and then shoot a helpless old mentor in the face as he begs for his life. So heroic. But hey things go boom so who gives a shit that Optimus at some point transformed into a douche.

      • Diaz

        I’m glad I’m not the only person who had an issue with that scene. I really felt that even though Sentinel Prime had done some heinous shit, that he should have had some shot at redemption… The dude was just trying to save his planet and race. He was just an asshole about it lol.

    • Sammy

      Nope. That would mean staying true to the spirit of the original. Bays Optimus Prime likes to kill his crippled rival when he has his back turned and then shoot a helpless old mentor in the face as he begs for his life. So heroic. But hey things go boom so who gives a shit that Optimus at some point transformed into a douche.

  • http://www.youtube.com/whatchef The Cookinator

    Will we ever see A transformers movie that looks like G1?

  • DEADP00L

    ‘Tells a great story about filming an action scene’

    He tells a story about filming the movie…that’s as close as we’ll ever get to an actual story in the movie.

    • Early Edition

      hahahha

  • DEADP00L

    ‘Tells a great story about filming an action scene’

    He tells a story about filming the movie…that’s as close as we’ll ever get to an actual story in the movie.

  • hughdownsyndrome

    If they ever reboot Tales from the Crypt he could be the Crypt Keeper with little to no make up required, but then again the puppet had more personality

  • hughdownsyndrome

    If they ever reboot Tales from the Crypt he could be the Crypt Keeper with little to no make up required, but then again the puppet had more personality

  • Manchego Cheese

    I’m sorry Steve… whilst I can agree totally on Pain & Gain, if you had any journalistic integrity you’d have asked Michael just what the hell he’s doing with these films…

    They’ve gotten so bad that besides a pretty darn good prologue/preamble in the third one, the status of the first film as a genuinely good sci-fi action film is all but forgotten. The goodwill that film justifiably earned is completely gone, buried beneath wave after wave of inane sequel, shocking characters, sloppy dialogue, laughably overcomplicated plot, mind-numbingly repetitive action and a general all-round putridness.

    The question(s) you need ask were: how can a filmmaker be satisfied with that end product? Technically they’re quite well made, no doubt about it, but everything else is insultingly bad. And, how does Ehren Kruger continue to get a gig writing them?

    • BboiBlack

      I’ll answer your question pretty simply, when you talk about the “general consensus” of the films, you have to look at what the broader audience thinks, not just critics or whomever it is you are referring. All that negative stuff you described and laughably bad etc, that’s not at all how the GA see’s things. Hundreds of thousands love it all and the ticket sales of this next one will do something to speak to that. I’ve spoken to a group of people that all told me that they don’t know how they feel about 4 cause shia’s gone! Here I thought ‘everyone hated that kid’. The point is that it’s different.
      If a director simply made corny movies for some cult following(such as hansel and gretal) such questions wouldn’t be asked.

      • Manchego Cheese

        I totally accept and appreciate that to be the case; that the broader cinema going public are there for cheap thrills. But even they would be tiring after the fourth near identical outing.

        Bay, Hasbro, Paramount etc aren’t interested in reviews, we all know that, they’re interested in the dollars and cents and, fortunately for them, this sort of film is relieved of the burden usually associated with movie making in that one isn’t tied to the other.

        But still, given the amount of money they spend and continue to spend, shouldn’t it bother them these films are really quite bad? If they were better they’d make even more money. Each time they release a poor product it diminishes their future return as, slowly, the market will recede. That goodwill they had will dissipate until its dead altogether and to get in good again they’ll absolutely have to make a decent film… so why not do it now? Save yourself the hassle, down time in rebooting and make a heap more of cash in the process?

        A really good example of films bucking this trend is the Fast and Furious franchise. Yeah, they’re not quite on the same blockbuster plane as Transformers, but what they did should be commended.

        These are nowhere near perfect films, but for the market they service and the genre they’re a part of they get the job done.

        After the second and third entries they were one underwhelming sequel away from extinction or exile into straight to DVD obscurity. But they sat down and actually seemed to give a shit about what they were doing and as a result the quality of the films improved.

        Now they have one of the most bankable and, more importantly, reliable action franchises going. In fact, right at this moment I’d say it’s without peer in that regard.

        If those behind Transformers had any commercial nous whatsoever they’d really sit down and make properly decent films. There’s more money in that, after all.

      • BboiBlack

        I fear again you are looking at things through the wrong lens. Firstly, one should point out that these films, all of them actually make more and more money that the prior one(consistently). This fear the studio should be having simply hasn’t presented itself. Secondly, I’m not sure if you’ve ever noticed but they tend to spend less on these films than most other blockbusters. This last film is said to cost 165mill.

        What you are talking about actually refers more accurately to ASM, and that’s my point. You aren’t looking at what the audience is saying. The simply difference about what they are saying about asm2 vs what they said about TF3..

        Lastly, ignoring the ironic apology for the actual quality of the fast furious films(they could be alot alot better but they service their audience fine..imagine that), even those could make more money if ‘they were better’. All films could. Not sure what the point is. These films makes gangbusters for the studio..on the dollar even.

        maybe the TF films will take a cue from the fast films and decide to become a better film for the GA perhaps when, like the fast films, they start to bomb and rely only on DVD sales as was the case with tokyo drift.

      • Manchego Cheese

        I respect what you’re saying, totally, but having seen the film last night it’ll surely be met with a similar audience backlash/response to ASM2.

        I really liked the first, the second had its issues (writers strike hurt it greatly) and thought parts of the third’s reworked modern history was really well done… but this one has zero redeeming qualities whatsoever.

        It all harks back to the crux of my initial statement: ask someone like Bay how he could be proud of this film as a filmmaker/storyteller. Its a complete failure in that regard.

      • BboiBlack

        He’d probably answer by alluding to all the fans he touched with said film, he’s proud cause he’s making people happy.

        We’ll see what kinda backlash and response this film ends up getting, I heard the same things you are saying levied at all 3 films only to have them all embraced by their fans. I never trust the individual opinion when it comes to this.
        The most interesting part is how they all seemingly are praised in hindsight when someone wants to throw the new one under the bus.

    • Drake

      I personally wouldn’t call the first Transformers a “genuinely good sci-fi action film.” It makes all the mistakes that RotF would eventually make, it just does it with less pizzazz … in my opinion.

      • Manchego Cheese

        The ‘Arrival to Earth’ scene, complete with Jablonsky’s score (and the Moon cover-up prologue to the third one) is the only time in which the series – and Bay – have ever fully grasped the mythology and potential of the property. For that few minutes the film is enormous in scope and scale, sitting easily alongside the dinosaur reveal in Jurassic Park as far as game changing spectacle.

        The audience is eating out of the palm of the filmmakers hands following such moments.

        Some films and filmmakers can build on that momentum and keep going… and I think Bay was able to do that with the first Transformers.

        I’m not saying its flawless, but in terms of aliens come to earth, fight for the planet ensues, human race survives it was pretty good. It was a popcorn film, they all are, but that particular entry got it the most right.

    • jay

      that opening on the third one is the best of all.

  • scurvy

    He doesn’t use a 2nd unit director because he IS a second unit director. He can only direct action sequences, nothing else. That’s what most 2nd units handle.

  • scurvy

    He doesn’t use a 2nd unit director because he IS a second unit director. He can only direct action sequences, nothing else. That’s what most 2nd units handle.

  • Ozweego

    I started to watch this interview when all of sudden my speakers maxed out and my monitor exploded! Now I am left deaf and dumbfounded, much like I am when leaving the theater after seeing any Bay movie.

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  • Person

    People who cry about this movie are still gonna go see it. Bay is not the best director out there but there is a place for him in Hollywood, and he is a talented guy (not to mention a nice guy, from when I met him briefly on Transformers 2). I would love to see more Transformers, I would love to see Bad Boys 3, and I would love to see his elephant poaching film.

  • JediGrandmaster

    Transformers : Age of Explosions

  • Daniel

    This is such a fascinating interview. Bay would rather talk about Pain & Gain than the movie he just shot. So would Frosty.

  • Jax

    He needs to give it too another director/writer already, but he won’t.

  • pagu magu

    Steve frosty or whoever the interview guy may be… are you fucking HIGH ? the films are so good ? you fucking retard… stop sucking so much dick when talking to directors and actors.. this movie was painful to watch

  • Fabdex

    Bay isn’t just a terrible director. He’s also a first class fucking asshole.

  • Fabdex

    Bay isn’t just a terrible director. He’s also a first class fucking asshole.

  • Fabdex

    Bay isn’t just a terrible director. He’s also a first class fucking asshole.

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  • alk

    This will be unpopular of me to say, but I really believe Michael Bay has a niche for action and style on the screen. But the Transformers has NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING to do with it. I think The TRansformers movies are just bad, for more reasons than just Michael Bay…the scripts are always awful, and the whole way the movies are marketed, packaged and just overall consumed are completely wrong. Like it’s a McDonalds meal full of action. It certainly seems ok at the time of seeing the movie, even if it is overwhelming, loud and noisy on screen…but in the end, you don’t feel any better coming out, actually you come out feeling sick and nauseated. And regretful.

  • The Flobbit

    It’s kind of hard to hear Frosty speak with his head so far up Bay’s ass. C’mon, Bay is an egotistical, juvenile, talentless, rude, moronic jackass and a terrible, terrible director.

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