Update: Michael Bay has hit the Shooting For The Edit forums to address rumors about "Transformers 4," and for now, he says that's all they are: "Studio's are passing rumors but I'm not sure what I'm doing? I know I'm going to do Pain and Gain early spring but that's it for right now. I'm leaving all my options on the table. I've got several Studio meetings in the next two weeks."
So, you want to make a little indie picture at Paramount? That's nice. But if you're Michael Bay, the director behind the mega-"Transformers" franchise, there's going to be some strings attached.
Just yesterday it was revealed that Bay was looking at Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson to take the lead roles in his $20 million "Pain And Gain," a "Fargo"-esque tale about a real-life extortion ring and kidnapping plot that goes horribly awry, a plan hatched by a couple of Floridian bodybuilders. Bay has been trying to make this movie for years, and through the press rounds for "Transformers: Dark Of The Moon" he insisted this would be next. And it may be, but those glittery robots are looming in the background.
Vulture reports that Paramount is playing their trump, essentially telling Bay he can't do 'Pain' without doing "Transformers 4." However, the site cautions that nothing is in place right now for Bay to helm either movie at the studio, though official word could apparently come early next week. If it does, you can expect "Pain And Gain" to shoot in the spring with "Transformers" getting prepped for a winter 2012 start. Of course, this opens up even more questions. While you might remember that earlier in the fall reports flew around about "Transformers 4" and "Transformers 5" shooting back-to-back, those were quickly debunked. However, there is a suggestion at where the series might go next.
While Shia LaBeouf likely won't be returning, it's said that instead of going the prequel route, the film "will delve deeper into Transformers canon to mine older characters and lore." Specifically, fans will be get a whole lot more Sentinel Prime. Hooray?
At any rate, nothing is official just yet, but it seems the wheels are in motion. We have to say, we'd rather see Bay do anything but another "Transformers." It's hard to imagine what else the (explosiony) inventive filmmaker can do seeing as how he's pretty much done it all, technically speaking, for the franchise. High end special effects, 3D...what's left, mo-cap? He's blown up shit fifteen different ways, laid waste to Chicago, and got gratuitous ass shots of both Megan Fox and Rosie Huntingon-Whitely. That said, the pay is probably pretty great and you can never underestimate the lure of the almighty dollar.