Despite two failed blackmail attempts, Michael Bay has nothing but praise for Hong Kong after completing two weeks of filming in the city. In an interview with South China Morning Post, the director discussed some of the challenges filming in the city and a little bit of the story. Below is the major portions of the interview but you can find the full article, with videos, here.
As for the image, that was created by Jeffrey Marshall of Pixel Rally with inspiration from the Prime renders and the TF4 logo. His work was unintentionally highlighted by Age of Extinction's Sophia Myles in a recent tweet when the hotel she was at used his unofficial Autobot logo to dress up her food delivery.
“Hong Kong is a very visual city,” he said in an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post.
[In regards to the extortion attempts], “In the restaurants, in the hotel, I must have 30 people coming to me saying ‘I’m so sorry’. But it was such a silly incident,” Bay said. He was also surprised how the incidents got looped into international news reported on BBC and CNN.
Filming the fourth Transformers instalment was a big operation involving at least 100 local crew. Bay said a lot of the equipment and at least 10 cars had to be shipped to Hong Kong – including some massive vehicles that were disassembled into smaller parts to fit in an air cargo hold.
Bay said it took him nine months – with a lot of help from the government – to work out the Hong Kong shooting plan. And despite having made three Transformers movies and many big-budget action blockbusters such as Armageddon and Pearl Harbour, it was still a challenge.
“Hong Kong was very hard,” said Bay. “I’ve had difficult locations in my life. But shooting in the market with so many people watching ... it made it very challenging.”
Bay managed to get 30 to 35 minutes of what will be a two hour blockbuster - including a Hong Kong set in Detroit that he blew up: “There was a lot of dynamite.”
Asked if any elements had been changed or adjusted - as in other blockbusters such as the latest Iron Man instalment - to appease regulators of the China film market, now the world’s number two, Bay replied with a definite “no”. Filming in Hong Kong had nothing to do with it either, he said.
“I can still shoot in Texas and people in China are still going to see it,” he said. “You want to do something new and different. I’m tired of shooting in Los Angeles ... I almost shot it out. You need new inspiration. This is the city that I always wanted to shoot.”
But he still declined to reveal the plot, he only said: “We are not destroying Hong Kong.” He said the story started in the US and there was a reason to go to China. Is Hong Kong a great hiding place for the Decepticons? “I can’t tell you how they get here.” Are Autobots rescuing Hong Kong from something? “They are not rescuing Hong Kong but definitely rescuing something.”
Bay and his crew leave Hong Kong today to continue filming at Wulong in Chongqing and on the Great Wall in Beijing.