Director Travis Knight really had his work cut out for him with the new Transformers movie, Bumblebee. Yes, the franchise made an astronomical amount of money at the box office over the years, but Bumblebee marked Knight’s live-action debut and also a major pivot for the series, one with the potential to up the heart and win over those who fell out of favor with the films, myself included.
His movie takes place in 1987 and puts the spotlight on a teenager named Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld). She’s having a tough time fitting in and feeling like herself (for good reason), but that changes when she finds a yellow VW bug in a junkyard. The movie largely focuses on the budding friendship between Charlie and Bumblebee – a super sweet, loving connection that truly melted my heart, and finally brought me firmly back into the Transformers fandom.
I’ve admired Knight’s work at the stop-motion animation studio Laika for years and now he’s delivered one of my favorite cinematic surprises of 2018 so it should go without saying that having the opportunity to chat with him about making Bumblebee was a real honor and treat. We discussed taking the reins from Bay and working with him as a producer, how his stop-motion experience came in handy on his first live-action production, and more. You can catch it all in the video interview at the top of this article. Bumblebee hits theaters nationwide on December 21st.
Here’s the official synopsis for Bumblebee:
On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.
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