my wildest dreams, I never thought that Michael Bay would ever appear on "Arrow in the
Head" . Bay is responsible for directing such entertaining
Hollywood fluff as "Armageddon", "Bad Boys",
"The Rock" and that
snore fest "Pearl Harbor" (affectionately known in my household as
Pearl Garbage). But behold, the
man didn't have enough coin in his sack, so he decided to help produce
the remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". This interview was
conducted in New York. I was part of a roundtable with other journalists and this is what came out
our talk with Michael "filthy rich and knows it" Bay.
Why take on this movie?
MB: I wanted to help
new directors. It was an idea for me. I put together two very close
friends and became partners with them and they had a friend who was
moving in on the rights (to the film). I thought this is a potentially
amazing title if we get it right and time will tell. Weíll see. I
wanted to do an old school horror movie where itís just straight
ahead, no jokes, just sheer terror. I knew that in creating this company,
I wanted something you can do without stars, where itís concept driven
and I thought itís like, thereís that amazing title that everybodyís
heard so many times. Itís in the horror lore and people think that
itís all true.
You seem to have a lot of faith in the music
and video world with producers and directors.
MB: Well, itís where I came
from. I think music video people have gotten a bad rap. I had always
wanted to do features when I was a kid, but it was like when I got out
of film school that was the thing where you can do a small movie and I
did a lot of story videos. Back then, we did a lot. It was a way of
making money every other week. It was the goal of doing a feature.
Do you think you would have gotten into film
if that opportunity had not been there?
MB: I have no idea. I had a
six month plan. My grandfather told me I would be working in his jean
stone washing place so I thought I better get going.
How do you think the spawn of video directors
influenced the style of editing?
MB: I think editing has
increased because itís just whatís going on in our culture. You look
at commercials. They have done studies where kids are retaining at a
much higher retention rate of images on screen. I cut fast on ďBad
BoysĒ honestly because I had no money. It cost nine million dollars to
make my movie and Jim Cameron was coming out with his and heís got all
the money in the world, so I was like, ďCut fast!Ē because I had bad
art direction here and a lame stunt, but we made it look better. Thatís
the reason why I cut that one fast.
How do you see yourself from the scale of 0
being completely accommodating and 10 being a dictator as far as being
MB: I think about a 7. I
love what actors can bring. The thing is that when youíre a director
you put the movie in your head before you go out and shoot a frame.
Movies start to take a life of their own. I told Marcus (the director)
that the first week of shooting is so important that you get a vibe
for the movie. You do a little of this where you do a dramatic thing.
You do something where itís exciting to shoot. You keep the pace going
because that sets the tone for the crew. Iíll take suggestions from
anybody. If thereís a PA whoís got a great idea (Iíll take it).
Constantly while Iím on the monitor, Iíll ask some stranger if thatís
How did you go about in selecting the cast?
MB: Getting anyone who
would take scale. (Laughs) We had no money so we saw, for some reason
there were a lot of people attracted to the title, and after
hundreds of women, I saw Jessie (Jessica Biel) and was like, ďSheís
the one.Ē I just think sheís going to go far. Sheís got that thing
where people like her. Sheís very attractive, but sheís tough. Sheís
got that tomboy thing. Sheís not too girly. Sheís really a good
actress. Iíd love to work with her.
Did you learn anything about producing from
MB: Yeah, a lot. I donít
know. Itís a bad answer, but I donít know.
Is there a sense of relief that the director
is going to handle a lot of the stuff?
MB: Yeah, but my name is
going on it so Iím just as terrified as if I were directing one of my
movies. This company, this little thing, lives and dies by how well
this movie will be received.
Is it hard to stay in the background?
MB: With shooting, I
totally stay in the background. It was interesting to walk on the set
as a producer, and see whatís going on. Itís very odd. Jerry must walk
on the set, but he canít shoot. He would have no idea, but it was fun.
In some of your films, you manage to get
yourself on screen. Did you consider doing it for this film?
MB: No. The only reason why
I was on "Bad Boys" was because the stunt guy didnít show. My mom was
on set that day and I was looking to get the shot done. Thatís the
What will be your next directing project?
MB: Iím actually looking to
change it up. Smaller character movies. Serious. Iím tired of action
(movies) right now.
MB: Come on. Iím just tired
Whatís your dream project?
MB: In the past, if I were
to do "Gladiator", I loved that it was a serious epic and Ridley Scott
creating a whole new world. Recently I met with Scott Rudin and that
producer has got amazing taste with very corky, character driven
movies. Iím just looking to expand. Iím young in my career and have a
long way to go and have lots to learn.
Tobe Hooper is listed as one of the producers.
What input did he have on this film?
MB: None. We just got the
rights from him. The original idea came from him. My two partners
brought him in the office while I was in Europe doing press. He came
in and was glad the movie was being remade. He loved the materials and
the commercials. He hasnít seen the movie yet.
"Bad Boys 2" will be coming out on DVD soon. Can
you talk about some of the extra features on it?
MB: I think itís bullshit
to put too many extras. Some movies have it. Everyoneís trying to put
their kitchen sink in it. I didnít do a commentary this time. We
it interesting with the first Bad Boys but I think we say enough on
the extras. We donít need to beat a dead horse.
Then why do a huge "Pearl Harbor" Special
MB: Because it was one of
those unique movies. The making of it was an incredible
accomplishment. (We did) Things that had never been done before.
So what did make it on BB2 DVD? Any gag reels?
MB: A couple of deleted
scenes. Some gag reels may have made it. I felt it was too inside.
Itís more for the crew. Itís how we did the car chase.
How would you respond to the level of violence
in the film?
MB: I talked to a lot of
people and Iím glad we went to an old school like 48 hours violence.
Iím tired of the watered down PG-13. Me personally, Iím tired of that.
I came from Pearl Harbor where I was forced to do PG-13 and the thing
that pissed me off was the FDC report. I was on the Director DGA
Anti-Violence Movie Committee and there was this whole thing when Gore
and Lieberman were running that basically said that if you donít clean
up your act, we will. How would you take that? I didnít take too
kindly to that. A little of my response is in Bad Boys 2.
How much violence is too much for you?
MB: In comedy, youíre allowed a lot. In ďFargoĒ,
you feel the violence more when he shoots the cop in the parking lot
cause it feels so real. In "Bad Boys", thereís a sense that itís not
real because when he executes the guy and the arm comes out, you know we
have seen it a million times before. You go right into a joke. You can
get away with that.
After seeing the film with an audience, do you
feel you should have changed something?
MB: Yeah, of course, but itís like listen, we
made this for nine million dollars, and you run out of time, and itís
40 days of shooting. Thereís tons of stuff I would have done but
thatís what we could afford. That budget is so tight. I called in so
many favors. I was asking music guys to do stuff for $25,000 and these
guys get paid $100,000 for their work. I just wanted to go back to if
I were a kid trapped in a town, just sheer terror.
What do you hate about the industry?
MB: The press. Dead serious. Itís not you. I hate
the fucking talk shows. I hate how they talk about what it made on
Friday or Saturday. Itís like do normal people care about what it
cost? ďOh, it cost $75 million dollars.Ē Who cares? You pay $7.50 or
more and itís doesnít matter. Either you enjoy it or you donít. Talk
shows have gotten me down like that scandal show on E! Have you seen
that? Itís crazy and people think that's entertaining.
What do you think about junkets?
MB: Junkets are okay.
So far all of your films have been hits. How will
you handle failure?
MB: I donít know. Youíve raised a really good
In regards to politics, did it come into play
when thinking about the release date for this film?
MB: No. I had nothing to do with that.
Considering doing sequels for this film?
MB: No, but there could be a prequel.
Which of your films holds up the best?
MB: I donít know. I think
ďThe RockĒ is fun, Iíve watched "Bad Boys" more than you want to shoot
yourself. That felt like a student film but thereís a lot of charm in
there. No money, no script, and I look at it from
that factor. I havenít seen "Pearl Harbor" in a long time, so I donít
know. I would bet that Pearl Harbor will last a long time.
How do you feel you have grown as a filmmaker?
MB: Tons of things and you will probably ask me
to list them, but I donít have a list. I love working with actors. Iím
a lot more comfortable with them. You want to do movies that mean
something. I would love to do a movie where itís 40 days and just
actors. I donít want to worry about if youíre going to kill someone on
the car set. Those are things you worry about. Itís a dangerous
You said you used fast cuts edit "Bad
did you edit BB2?
MB: Thatís part of the style. Thatís part of my
style. Pearl Harbor wasnít fast cut.
Do you like to do the sweeping low angle shots?
MB: I always do those. I did that as a joke. We
had no money on the movie and they were like, ďWe have to goĒ and I
was like. ďI have this idea.Ē ďDude, just trust me.Ē I do that as a
With the release of ďWrong TurnĒ, and ďHouse of
1000 CorpsesĒ, is this the right time for this film?
MB: You know what, itís that we just gambled. I
told my guys who are producing with me, ďYou know, this company will
live or die with this, but at least we didnít spend too much money on
this.Ē They do this tracking survey and I got a call from different
studio presidents with their $90 million dollars movies coming out in
the next few weeks and theyíre like telling me that my film is
tracking huge. Weíre tracking better than some of these bigger movies.
Thatís pretty cool.
Are you working on anything now?
MB: I just shot Victoriaís Secret selling
panties. (Laughs) If you want to know the truth, thatís what Iím
doing. Thatís fun once in a while.
Have you seen the latest "Got Milk" Campaigns?
MB: I think I saw one. I donít know. They were
fun when we did it. I was the first guy to ever do them. I didnít know
that they even show them out here (East Coast) because it was just for
California. I think the joke has gotten old, but the guy whoís on the
California advisory thinks heís created something but he had nothing
to do with it.
Stay tuned for more TCM interviews
later on this week!!
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