In case you haven’t seen or heard, MTV News was part of an exclusive group invited to the Paramount lot last week to see some footage of “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” and chat with director Michael Bay. To be honest, I was not all that excited going in, given, you know, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” but I’m happy to report that the footage was absolutely killer — and the lengthy conversation with Bay even better.
As such, I present the following “best of” moments from the interview, wherein Bay hilariously calls out Shia LaBeouf for being a “grump,” filming his most intense action sequences yet, and gets a little touchy about being criticized for his quick-cut editing style and Paul Greengrass getting Oscar nominations.
On the “Transformers” franchise being rebooted after the third movie:
“It still could be rebooted. Not with Shia. He’s turning grumpy in his old age,” he joked. “He’s like a little brother to me but I told him, ‘I’m never going to work with you when you’re older.’ [Shia said] ‘Why?’ ‘Because you’re just a grump!’”
“You put him on a wire and he turns into this evil monster,” he continued, playfully poking fun at his frequent collaborator’s expense. “Other actors say, ‘This is really fun,’ he’s just the opposite.”
On the breakdown for his 3-D shots, wishing he could shoot more on film, not digital:
“I was able to shoot about 60% native 3-D and then you’ve got maybe 15% of all digital shots that are in 3-D, the rest is converted 3-D close-up stuff. Digital, no matter what people tell you, it’s bullsh–. They say, ‘Oh, it looks just like film.‘ It doesn’t look like film, it never will.”
On filming his craziest action sequence yet:
“We did one of the craziest things I’ve ever filmed which is these wingsuit guys [extreme base jumpers]. I’m like, ’I’m writing a scene for those guys.’ We have this great scene where they fly between the buildings. We had to block off a mile and a half, they made turns around the buildings, very close, but the city [of Chicago] allowed us to do that. Jumping off the Sears Tower flying through the streets. That’s just unheard of.”
On how he deals with misbehaving actors:
“With actors, it’s great learning form a guy like Sean Connery who has the greatest work ethic. When I worked with him on ’The Rock,’ he would always talk about the young whipper snappers in Hollywood who misbehaved. Owen Wilson, great guy, I put him in ’Armageddon,’ it was my third movie. He was an hour and a half late. When he showed up I put my arm around him, ’Hey Owen, how are ya?’ ’I’m excited to do this,’ [Wilson said]. I said, ’You’re an hour and a half late. You know what? Sean Connery was never late.’ And he was never late again.
“I’ve actually been pretty lucky, there’s really no misbehaving on set. It is a long haul, you’re a family. There are tensions, you have good days, bad days, it’s not always perfect. It is tense. You have the light going down, you have the studio up your ass.”
On his editing process, evolving from quick cuts to wider shots, and being touchy about criticism there:
“You know what, you should do a study on Paul Greengrass movies and mine… I was one of the first way back when to do ’Bad Boys’ in a fast cutting style. I was one of the first to do the fast cutting style… I didn’t have a lot of money, I had nine million… almost no movies did that fast cut, I got a lot of shit for it. Now you look at action movies today, then you look at Paul Greengrass, they get nominated for an Academy Award for cutting so f—ing fast. My cuts, we should analyze, we should do a math test, take the same length of movie and see who has more cuts. I‘ll have less cuts, I guarantee you. It’s a stigma that sticks with me and it’s not fair.
“I get a little hot under the collar about the editing,” he said with a smile.
What do you think about Bay’s comments? Are you ready to see “Dark of the Moon” now? Tell us in the comments or on Twitter!