Interviews with Shia LaBeouf and Michael Bay...
Tell me about talking with Michael Bay about the film.
When I first sat down with Mike, it was never the discussion of, "Let's talk about the technology, let's talk about the robots." The first thing he wanted to talk about was, "Look, this is a coming of age story. How do we make this real? How do we make these characters come across as honest? How do you make these relationships work, so that you can follow the story?"
Can you tell me about Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson's characters?
As far as, uh, Josh and Tyrese's character and, their whole storyline, they've just come out of war. Their base has just been completely demolished and now they're working with the government to figure out a way to stop the Decepticons from taking over the planet.
How did you feel about doing your own stunts?
That's the best part is when Mike'll put a camera on the ground and it's in a bulletproof box so you don't break the camera, and your face is right next to it. And your thinking is, "They're protecting the camera, and I'm sitting right here. Why don't I have a bulletproof box?"
What was it like seeing the robot in the Hoover Dam?
There was a couple of us that saw it for the first time...and it was at Hoover Dam. And we walked down through the Hoover Dam which was an experience in itself, with these big silos of energy all next to you. You're in the guts of the dam. Few people ever get to walk down there. And just over the yonder is a big yellow foot. And you're like, "No way!" And you start walking, you're getting closer and closer and you start seeing the body and the torso and the head and he, and it's just silence. Everyone.
What was your first reaction when you saw the whole finished piece all together?
Well, it's, that's not really far cause I see it way early when it's totally crap, you know when there's stuff that's not there and, and then what I do with my process is I then cut it more and then I'll then I'll put it in front of like 30 kids. And then I'll do another group of 30 kids. And they'll tell you whatever what they feel, and I don't go up, I have somebody who will personally do a focus group and it helps you in the editing process. But then when I saw it when the real audience, I think it was 450 people and there was major laughter and major applause, I'm like WOW. They like this movie? That's how you always feel about your movie. Its like you know, you just want to know a movie works, you know. So I think it's been very fun. I've seen it now in Australia and Korea and I know this is a long answer, but I've seen it in Australia, Korea, Italy, United States and the audiences are all laughing and applauding in the same places.
Is the human aspect of the film important to you?
It has to be cause you, you have to focus, ground your story in someone's human story. You know, so I think it's the most important part.
Obviously around the world there are millions of fans of the original transformers, what do you think their reaction will be?
Well, right now, as you probably saw on the Internet, "Death to Michael Bay", "Michael Bay, you wrecked my childhood", "Why are you changing the robots?", and now when they see the movie, they're like "Thank you Michael Bay", "We love the movie". You have to reinvent it so it's it could hold up on a big movie screen. Make it fresh. So that was just my vision for it, so I've seen enough fans around the world that are really liking it.
So you are working with Steven Spielberg, I gather when he saw the finished article, his reaction was great?
Well, yeah we've, I first bought him into the edit room when I showed him, he wanted to see the whole movie when it was done, and I said "c'mon, just see a scene", so I showed him a scene and he started slapping me on the leg you know, this is my idol, slapping me on the leg and laughing. I'm like "what are you laughing at?" and he's like "I have never seen robots do this, I've never seen this", I said "well you invented dinosaurs" and he was "but I've never seen robots do this". So, when he saw the end product, you know it still needed work, but he was just amazed about the heart of the movie.
The effects were jaw-dropping, is it true that each frame took thirty eight hours to render?
Well, that's if you have three robots in a frame, cause they are so complicated, just in terms of the way, its called ray-tracing, with the light and how it bounces around these robots. The robots are made, average about 10,000 parts per robot, which is the largest digital models ever made cause they have to actually move, so you know, my thing with effects is, is, is, I push to make them very realistic, you know and how they fit into the scene. Lot of effects are very, kind of what you call they're lit-bad, they're pastel, they look fake. I work really hard to make it look really really real.
The human interaction is a key point in the film, how important is this aspect to you?
Yeah, it puts it you know, the humans for us, that's our, the audience is watching them and it's a way that draws us in to you know, these gigantic things, and it gives you scale and it just make it more involving I think.
Shia LaBeouf is playing an iconic role in the movie, what did you make of his performance?
I mean, I think, he's like a young Tom Hanks and he's really going to break out after this, I think he's got the everyday, everyman kind of quality. Ummm, he's got a great thing going on with his eyes, and you just see the window to his soul, so well. He's really funny, so he's going to go quite far.
Yeah exactly, we've got the Indiana Jones and stuff coming up for him as well which is, are you going to be quite keen to follow that progress?
Yeah, but I will know that I broke him.
It's quite a nice thing to see.
As far as the franchise goes there is potential to make another movie from this. Is this something that you'll be considering?
Yeah, I mean, you know, we want to start working on a sequel right now, so we'll see.
How long did it take to make the film?
About a year and a half on this, about a year and a half, cause it is just the amount of artists that have to draw and like you know, conceptualize, it's a lot of work yeah.
What is your favorite aspect or scene from the film?
Well, I, I just, people walk out of the movie and they say, "I've never seen anything like that" cause it looks different, it's something totally new and different for the summer.
Finally, what transformer would you be?
I have no idea what I would say to this
Got you down as a sports car man?
I would be like a Ferrari