MEGAN FOX and MICHAEL BAY on
'TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN'
Contributed by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for Radio Free Entertainment
June 19, 2009
Following up on the huge success of 2007's Transformers, Revenge of the Fallen thrusts audiences into the heart of robot-smashing carnage. In this second installment of the franchise, the heroic Autobots and their valiant leader Optimus Prime (voice of Peter Cullen) answer the call to protect earth from destruction at the hands of the malicious Decepticons and an ancient, evil known ominously as The Fallen. Caught once more in the middle of this alien war is Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), despite his best efforts to lead a normal life as a newly enrolled college freshman and build his relationship with his girlfriend Mikaela (Megan Fox).
In this interview, Megan Fox, joined by director Michael Bay, talks about working on this sequel, and how the blockbuster film series has greatly impacted her career in Hollywood.
MEDIA: Megan, fans have been able to watch your career really take off these past two years. How have things changed from your perspective?
MEGAN: I think the movie, its success and how well it was received, just opened a lot of doors for me career-wise, and I've been able to be a part of some films that I don't really feel like I deserve to have been a part of. And that's due greatly, in part or solely, to the success of Transformers. Like I just did Jonah Hex with Josh Brolin and Michael Fassbender and John Malkovich. And actors in general don't get those kind of opportunities. And for me to have that is a huge blessing, and that's because of the success of this movie.
And how has that impacted your personal life?
MEGAN: You know, getting photographed at Whole Foods, or coming out of Rite Aid with your shampoo bottles and stuff. That's new for me. But that's not that crazy. You acclimate to that pretty quickly.
Mikaela's outfits are generally tight and/or revealing throughout the movie. Any moments of wardrobe apprehension on your part?
MEGAN: Yeah, I have those moments on a daily basis. But the process of picking those outfits...I don't have much of a say. And I remember Michael was like auditioning Ramon [Rodriguez] and some of the other characters, and there was just a room full of men upstairs in his office...
MICHAEL: [defends himself] Two young guys.
MEGAN: No, it was Shia, Ramon, two other actors, and you. And I had to like come up and down and knock on the door and try on all my wardrobe. And I had like 18 different outfits. And it was like "white jeans shorts" and "pink belly shirt" and "motorcycle boots." And we went through a whole thing, and Mike was selecting them in the process of auditioning.
MICHAEL: It's called multitasking.
MEGAN: Right. Well, but I had no say. But clearly he has an eye for what should be and should not be in the movie. So I just trust him.
What was your experience of working with the military like?
MEGAN: They're all extremely chivalrous and very respectful. Clearly because they're disciplined. And they're so much better behaved than the rest of the cast is...Including myself! Like they listen and take direction really well, and we're all just f*cking off. But it adds authenticity to the movie. You know, Michael, you consult with the military on everything to make it authentic and to make it real. And I enjoy being able to walk on the set and there's a hundred real soldiers, as opposed to a hundred actors from Orange County or LA in fatigues. It was just overall a really pleasant experience for me, and I have an immense amount of respect for the soldiers and our troops.
What has been your reaction to seeing yourself in full-blown IMAX?
MEGAN: I haven't seen the movie in IMAX, and I just saw it for the first time a few days ago when we were in London. And I usually don't watch myself. Like I don't watch playback, I don't look at still photos. I have a phobia of it. But I forced myself to sit down, and I basically shot an entire glass of champagne so that I could get through the sitting of it. And I was really, really pleasantly surprised, and halfway through was sort of overcome with genuine emotion, and I wanted to like hug Michael because I had gratitude for him for making this movie--like it so far surpassed my expectations.
And how have you reacted to being seen as a sexy symbol in this movie?
MEGAN: I think, you know, the character is sexy. But women in movies in general are sexy. And especially in Michael's movies. He knows how to make movies that get people in the theater, and if that's part of the formula...
MICHAEL: But if you look at the movie, we got that first shot [of Mikaela on the motorcycle] out of the way, just to get it out for the young boys and move on...The rest of the movie with her, it's not about sexy, you know?
Was acting opposite special effects easier for you in this sequel than it was in the first film?
MEGAN: It was definitely easier, because we have seen them at this point--we've seen Optimus and we've heard his voice, and we know how he moves. And it's the same with all of the robots. And once you're able to visualize something's presence, it's a lot easier to sort of fake interact with it. And I think those scenes are some of the easiest scenes to shoot. I enjoy them. We've gotten good at being able to synchronize and pick an eyeline. And you basically scream your dialogue at it, and you avoid the area where you know it is. I enjoy those scenes. We end up usually doing a ton of takes, because ILM...You know, it needs to be specific. The light needs to be right and they need to be able to add it in and make it look the way that they do. But it wasn't that difficult this time around.
What did you do to relax after a stressful day? And what did you do to stay in shape?
MEGAN: In New Mexico, I think what all of us did to relax after a hard day of work was go drink at Chili's.
MICHAEL: It's the only restaurant there.
MEGAN: We drank. A lot. And then to stay in shape, I wasn't really...I didn't find the time, or I didn't have the motivation to work out after we would shoot a 16-hour day. So whatever happened to me at work...
MICHAEL: We don't shoot 16s, we shoot 12s...
MEGAN: Mike, no, that's not possible. Every day...
MICHAEL: [insists] We shoot 12s. We shoot 12s...
MEGAN: [defers] Okay. Okay. We shoot 12-hour days. Well, after 12 hours, I was too tired to work out. So I didn't really maintain much.
MICHAEL: Days are physical.
Did Shia LaBeouf breaking his hand derail production much?
MICHAEL: Well, I actually read it on CNN online, and I'm like, "This can't be true!" And I called my line producer Ian Bryce, and he goes, "It's true." And I'm like, "Oh my God!" He goes, "Let's shut down." I'm like, "We can't shut down." Because when you've got a train going, it's so expensive to shut a picture like this down. We had an action scene in the library that day we were shooting on Monday, and I said, "Let's just go for it. Let's just not stop. Let's use a stuntman and try to cover as much stuff as we can." And then on Tuesday, we shut down. We had to mix and match everything...You know, pulling from different scenes, we can shoot without him. We didn't know how long he was going to be down. And immediately, I had them find the best people in the world to make a special cast that had never been made, with Kevlar fingers, very thin, so you can photograph it. Because the problem was if he were to jam his fingers, he could lose his fingers forever. So we had some experts of the world kind of come up with this design. We were very lucky because we had shot a lot of the beginning of the movie, so we were right at a turning point...We were very lucky...
MEGAN: Everyone's also very lucky for Shia's level of commitment to this movie, because he showed up with this injury and acted as though he didn't have an injury, and still went balls to the wall and completely committed, and did things that were not safe for him to do. But he wanted this movie to be as real as possible. So I think that helped everyone out a lot.