Spielberg helped hook action man to direct robot flick



Mark J. Terrill/AP Photo


Director Michael Bay poses in front of a mockup of a transformer at the premiere of Transformers in Los Angeles.


“... it’s a story about a boy who buys his first car ...”

Michael Bay does epic action flicks with gigantic explosions better than almost anyone else in Hollywood, but none of that excitement was what lured him into directing his new film, Transformers.

“When (executive producer) Steven (Spielberg) called me a year and a half ago and he said ‘I want you to direct Transformers — it’s a story about a boy who buys his first car’ — to me, that was a great hook,” Bay said recently in Beverly Hills, Calif.

“I said ‘thank you’ and hung up and said ‘I’m not doing that silly, stupid toy movie’, but I thought about that hook because … I liked the simplicity of it.

“It just made it so much more accessible.”

So at the heart of an explosive action film featuring titanic battles between giant robots who can change back and forth into cars, planes and other vehicles is the core idea of Sam Witwicky (played by rising Hollywood star Shia LeBeouf) who gets a lot more than he bargains for when he picks out a well-used 1974 Camaro at a used car lot.

“I just thought this idea, if done in the right way, could be very cool movie idea,” said Bay, who has directed other high-flying films such as Bad Boys (and its sequel), The Rock, Armageddon and Pearl Harbor.

“I’ve been offered a lot of super-hero movies before and nothing’s really appealed to me.

“It just hit me that if I make this really real, it could be something very new and different.”

The filmmaker said he came into this project without any kind of sentimental attachment to the characters.

“I was not a Transformers fan before I signed on for this movie,” Bay said. “I think I was two years too old and had discovered girls by then instead of Optimus Prime.”

Bay said he did fall in love with the subject matter very quickly, however.

“I’m a huge Transformer fan now,” he said. “I can officially say I’ve thought more about robots on earth more than anyone else in the last year and a half.”

  • Transformers is now in theatres.