In the spring of 2009, just two months before "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," hit theaters and was roasted alive by critics (but succeeded massively at the box-office -- $836 million globally that year, but was a big Razzie winner too, including Worst Picture), director Michael Bay said he wanted to take a year off before making 'Transformers 3,' and make a "small" movie that was "Pulp Fiction"-like.
"I might do a small movie in between. [It is based on] a true story and it's very funny. It's a dark comedy," he said that year. Turns out that idea was based on a Miami News article called, "Pain & Gain" and it chronicled the true story about a group of Florida, steroid-abusing idiot bodybuilders who became involved in extortion ring and a kidnapping plot that went... wait for it... horribly awry.
But in the latest issue of Empire (some of it online, not all of it), Bay sharply dissociates himself from that idea, intimating he was drunk, or at least ideologically high when considering that idea. He also got some heavy convincing help to drop that idea from Paramount.
"I was one or two martinis in, talking about my 'small' film, when the president of Paramount said, 'Yeah, that's what we're here to talk about. I'm going to get fucking fired if I don't have a big franchise.' It was right when the economy was in the dump. When you do these movies you instantly give 2,000 jobs. So I was like, 'Okay -- as long as I can figure out how to get creatively excited about this.' "
Before setting out to make a third 'Transformers' film, Bay also sat down and made a list with new screenwriter Ehren Kruger ("Scream 3" and "The Brothers Grimm" -- replacing Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman who seemed to want to distance themselves from 'Transformers 2' after the racist-robot-gate of '09) of the dos and donts of Transformers.
1. No sand
2. No "dorky" humor ("We wanted to make it a lot more serious, more adult," Bay said)
3. When robots die they are really going to die and we show that.
4. We're not bringing people back.
5. Give the robots more weight in the movie ("They were missed in movie two. We've given them a strong backstory, more pathos," he said)
Bay blames 'Revenge of the Fallen' on the 2008 writer's strike, the ripple effect of which echoed into 2009 and 2010. "We got shafted on that movie. The writer's strike was coming hard and fast. It was terrible to do a movie when you've got to have a story in three weeks. I was prepping the movie for months where I only had 14 pages and some idea of what the movie was. It's a BS way to make a movie, do you know what I'm saying?" Frankly, that's a raw deal for anyone, but we assume he knew the strike was going on and what he'd be getting himself into.
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon" hits theaters July 1, 2011. New scans also from Empire.