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INT: Michael Bay

05.16.2007

Michael Bay has a little something to prove with TRANSFORMERS. After the high-profile flop THE ISLAND (which wasn’t nearly as awful as some folks claimed), many have questioned whether the director is capable of anything beyond outrageous action sequences and gigantic explosions. While the failure of THE ISLAND was relatively easy to forget, don’t expect the hordes of Transformers-loving fanboys to let Bay off easy if he screws this one up.

At the TRANSFORMERS set visit a few months ago (read part 1 HERE), Bay talked about his vision for the movie. He was in good spirits, despite a nasty cold. What a champ. Here are some excerpts from the interview (the parts that we were allowed to publish).

Michael Bay

How are you turning Transformers into a Michael Bay movie?

You know, it's just…I don't know. I don't know if that makes any sense. It's got a lot of action but it's very funny. It's got heart and it's…I only wanted to do Transformers if I could do it realistic. What I've seen, what we've done with our digital studies, real world stuff that has lots of effects around that are real effects, that's how we make it realistic.

When did you realize the “fanboyness” of this movie?

Of course I knew, of course. When did it hit me? Before I even took on the movie. I knew there's a huge following for this thing. Steven called me I think a year ago last April. My first thought was no, I'm not interested. Just because I thought okay, how am I going to do a toy movie. And then I realized when I went to Hasbro, okay, start over and go for a realistic alien invasion robot movie on earth. So with that thinking in mind, that's how I went about it.

Are you going more family film or hardcore?

It's pretty edgy for a family film but it's definitely got stuff for families. It's PG-13 but it's edgy.

How do you introduce the idea of all the ridiculous names?

I'm not going to tell you but we justify how we do it. We have logic stuff in the script to explain why we say it.

Would you come back to this franchise?

Well, I'm having a great time making it. I really have. It's gone really smoothly this movie. It's been a lot of fun. So we'll see. It's really fun to actually- - I've done a lot of digital effects before but this is really fun because you're really animating characters and giving everyone a little different kind of thing going on, just from the way they walk, the way their armor's scratched or hurt.

How do you do that without the voices yet?

You're got to go through- - first you write down what are all the character points in your head? That's a tough thing. With Colin, he's not an actor actor. He's a voice actor so when you see his face, he's got a great voice but I need to hire another actor to do his voice. Does that make sense? He's going to do the voice and I'm going to have another actor study the video when he does how he's going to say it. They're actually having to work in tandem. They do this on animation features as well. We did a very funny study where we did De Niro and Hugo Weaving, we put our Optimus to Hugo and De Niro. It's hysterical. It looks just like 'em. It's very funny.

So it's motion capturing the faces?

It's not fully like a human face but it does have certain human things to it. Otherwise as humans we wouldn't associate with it as much. We did a lot of different studies, like if you do nothing, it's kind of like it doesn't hit us.

What did you try that didn't work?

If they're just frozen robots, pure metal that doesn't move and the eyebrow kind of thing. We have these eye slits that can kind of move and the eyes how they move. It's got to have some human things to it to make it so successful to us. You look at the cartoons, that is like 90% away where we have to go. Right now they're just big glowing eyes that have no emotions. It's what I keep trying to tell the fanboys is this has got to be so much more realistic than what they've seen in the past. But they're angry about everything. I hear they want to protest in front of my office by the way, but I won't be there. I'm shooting.

You’re changing Ratchet?

We just made him more like one of those kind of modern rescue kind of ground type vehicles.

Is that Furby truck a transformer?

No, we wanted to have burning Furbys. Burning Furbys somewhere on the ground. Have you seen those little Furbys? We're going to be blowing up a lot of little Furbys.

Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at thomasleupp@joblo.com.

Source: JoBlo.com

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