He showed me a comedy sequence with the Witwicky family getting young Sam (Shia LaBeouf) ready to go off to Princeton University. There was a lot of "empty nest" humor with Sam's mom, Judy (Julie White), and dad, Ron (Kevin Dunn), and then the house is all but leveled by an unwelcome metallic visitor. The scene has a lot of humor in it but Bay said the film, overall, is darker than its 2007 predecessor. "This one," Bay said, "is less quippy."Thanks to Mcat and Austin for the link.
There was the first scene in the film for the nubile Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox) and of course she was wearing very little and posed like a grease-monkey hottie on a garage pin-up poster. "Of course we had to get that out of the way," Bay said with mock resignation. There was plenty more of Fox in seductive mode and a romantic rival as well -- at Princeton, a curvy mystery girl [Alice, played by Isabel Lucas] pounces on Sam in his dorm-room but there's something a little alien about her. Maybe it's the nasty steel tail that suddenly emerges from under her skirt like a scorpion's stinger.
"People I've shown this to instantly feel like, 'Hey, I know that family, they’re fun to watch.' It’s like when you watch a favorite TV series, there are things about familiarity you like and it can be satisfying. There are other benefits from doing it a second time. Movies do take a life. Things spark and take a life, things you thought would be important drop away and a tone is set. With the sequels, you know the tone. That’s a huge thing."
There was also a section of the film in a Princeton classroom with a leering Lothario of a professor (Rainn Wilson) who has a run-in with new student Witwicky, who is suddenly a sputtering genius thanks to his encounter with a powerful shard of alien technology. Bay based the sleazy Wilson character on a randy film instructor he remembered back at his alma mater, Wesleyan University, who wore leather pants and had a whispered reputation for seducing coeds.
He showed me a sequence with a cranky new Autobot [Jetfire] with a lot of stylized personality (think of a windy old geezer with the metallic equivalent of a braided beard) and he mentioned that the smaller robots will be a key part of this film. Tom Kenny (the star voice of "SpongeBob SquarePants") and ubiquitous voice veteran Frank Welker are on board and I think little kids in particular are going to seize on this movie. "Jeffrey Katzenberg gave me advice once. He said it's great to have little characters with these big huge voices," Bay noted of some of the manic little bots.
"Shia came in and auditioned and he was this little skinny kid. ‘Dude you’re like this action king!’ he was so giddy and he wanted to be in action movie so bad. I told him, ‘All right, all right, just calm down.’ I instantly loved his acting because he is disarming, he is great at improv. He’s got this everyday kind of guy that thing. He’s much more charismatic in this movie, too. He’s coming into his own. He’s a smart actor. You sometimes have to push him when he doesn’t believe it. He’ll go through a dark period. With actors you’ve got to be a psychologist. You have to see the darkness coming, especially with funny actors. I can see it coming on and I have to say, ‘Shia…’ and pull him aside. I explain it to him and he’ll come out of it. And then he’ll say, ‘You’re right, you’re right, I was in that mood…’ The reason is they're scared of things sometimes. It’s not easy being an actor and putting yourself out there.”
On Fox: "I brought Megan in when I was producing a different movie and she auditioned for a two-day part. We gave the role to someone else but I remembered her when it came to this movie. There were a lot of young women that auditioned for ‘Transformers,’ but she got it. She was very junior as an actress. There was a chemistry thing, though, between her and Shia. She’s vastly improved over the last one."
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Bay Talks Shia, Fox; New Voice Cast Member
LA Times has posted an interview with Michael Bay has he discusses his ongoing work editing the movie and working with Shia LaBeouf. The writer, Geoff Boucher, was even able to view about 25 minutes of footage from the film. We also learn that Tom Kenny (the SpongeBob Squarepants voice) has been cast in the film. As who is not specificed but it sounds like Wheelie. Below are snippets from the article, which can be found here.