Thursday, July 19, 2018

Bumblebee Producer Talks Movie and Next Franchise Installment

In an interview with Den of Geek, longtime Transformers producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura discusses deciding on an origin movie and beginning the process of working on the next film of the franchise. Below is the highlights, for the full interview go to Den of Geek.
Why Bumblebee? Why go back and look into the origins of this character?
We consciously said, "Okay, we want to take a new direction." ...We felt like, okay, if we're going to make another of the Transformers movies that it would really have been two characters we could choose from, Optimus and Bumblebee. Optimus forces you to be more stoic, heroic. Bumblebee's the more accessible character of the two, so I think that's really why we settled on Bumblebee as the character. ...we kind of wanted to get back to the feeling of the first movie in the sense of approachability, emotionality, humor.

Could somebody who hasn't seen the Transformers movies or know the mythology very well walk into this and enjoy it on its own terms?
Yes. One of the reasons why we chose it to take place in 1987 was because it is an origin story. None of the events of the Bay movies have happened. ...[Director Travis Knight], by the way, is a giant Transformers fan, and particularly Generation One, which was also one of the reasons why we wanted to go back in time so that we could do a nod to Generation One in terms of design. ...Which, again, you don't want to replicate what (Bay) has done, so it has a very distinctive style all of its own. There's less pieces, it transforms different.

Where would you say things stand now with the overall franchise, and going forward, what do you think might be happening?
There's been some implication that (Paramount) lost faith in Transformers. Well, if they did, I don't see it because they just spent a lot of money on Bumblebee, and they had every opportunity to pull out of it if they'd lost faith in the overall Transformers world. ...It's not exactly dead. I think what we're doing is we're having a (Transformers) script written soon. We put it aside a little bit because we were all focused on Bumblebee, and that takes a lot of time and creative attention.

Now that we've come up for air, we've been meeting with writers and sort of formulating where we're going to go with that franchise. We're meeting with some of the most successful writers in our business, so they're certainly not shying away from spending a lot of money on a script. Doesn't mean we're going to make a movie, but when you deal with studios, you get a sense of the current. My sense of the current is they absolutely want to make another one. They just don't know how much they want to spend on it. That's my sense of it.

Would you say that you might be rebooting it and taking it back scale-wise a bit from where Michael went with his?
It's possible. I avoid the word "reboot" because I don't think it's really accurate, but I will give you a sense of how wide-ranging our thought process is. We have talked about a World War II movie. We have talked about a time travel movie because they can go through wormholes, so you can go to different time frames from that. We have talked about a lot of different kind of genre concepts to put on it. We have talked about going later in the timeline. What would that look like?
To bring a little counter/context to his small sales pitch - yes Paramount did lose some faith in Transformers. Bumblebee is the result with a budget that is nearly 50% smaller then the previous movies with the saving made by reducing the cast (aka only 4 Transformers), simplifying the transformation sequences (hence the "less pieces" since each digital "piece" has a cost), far less globe trotting with mostly sticking to one setting, and other things (including casting choices). This isn't a knock as some of the best films has virtually no budget resulting in every aspect of the film having to be carefully and thoughtfully planned resulting in a better film. As for the information about the next film, basically nothing has changed. We already know Hasbro wants to do another installment, are considering a wide variety of options and right now its all about waiting to see how Bumblebee does. There will be more Transformers films, of that I have no doubt. Its just a matter of when. Bumblebee hits theaters on December 21, 2018.

1 comment:

  1. I'm an old school Transformers fan. I was the right age for G1, I remember G2(!) and have watched all the shows, bought all DVDs and a couple toys from most of the lines. HOWEVER, aside from that first movie, the Bay films have never "done it" for me. I stopped paying for them after Revenge of the Fallen, borrow them from the library only. That being said, I am SUPER excited about this movie. It looks like the characters will have more development, the toys based on them will look better than what Bay was putting out there, and the vibe is more fun and personal. My 5 year old is excited for the movie, so I will being taking him to this movie opening weekend. I can't say that I would feel the same way if it was Bay film. I'm glad we are getting Transformers from a storyteller, not an explosion expert.


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