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Transformers-Gate: Michael Bay Shoots Back At Hugo Weaving's Disses On The Film

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by Edward Davis
October 18, 2012 12:33 PM
20 Comments
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Bitching about the vapidity of tentpoles is the new black. "The Dark Knight Rises" cinematographer Wally Pfister recently disparaged the shooting clumsiness of  " The Avengers"  in an interview, Paul Bettany admitted that he's never bothered to watch any of the "Iron Man" movies he's in (he plays the robot voice of Tony Stark's digital butler Jarvis) and finally, Australian actor Hugo Weaving recently said he's not very keen on returning to Marvel's "Captain America" franchise (he plays the Red Skull villain).

And Weaving, who has already talked a bit of trash about Michael Bay's "Transformers" series in the past -- claiming he had not seen any of the movies he had voiced (he plays Megatron) and sounding rather flippant about it -- took a few more digs at the films again this week calling his voice work on the project "meaningless."

"It was one of the only things I've ever done where I had no knowledge of it, I didn't care about it, I didn't think about it," Weaving told Collider on the weekend. "They wanted me to do it. In one way, I regret that bit. I don't regret doing it, but I very rarely do something if it's meaningless. It was meaningless to me, honestly. I don't mean that in any nasty way."

Nasty or not, a lot of geek sites friendly to "Transformers" and Michael Bay raised their eyebrows and took notice. It didn't take long until the always vocal Michael Bay shot back on his website. Updated: Michael Bay has deleted his post, which doesn't do a lot of good because every site on on the Internet, including ours, has already copied and pasted it his statement.

"Do you ever get sick of actors that make $15 million a picture, or even $200,000 for voiceover work that took a brisk one hour and 43 minutes to complete, and then complain about their jobs?

With all the problems facing our world today, do these grumbling thespians really think people reading the news actually care about trivial complaints that their job wasn’t “artistic enough” or “fulfilling enough”? I guess The Hollywood Reporter thinks so. What happened to people who had integrity, who did a job, got paid for their hard work, and just smiled afterward? Be happy you even have a job – let alone a job that pays you more than 98% of the people in America.

I have a wonderful idea for all those whiners: They can give their “unhappy job money” to a wonderful Elephant Rescue. It’s the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Africa. I will match the funds they donate."

Of course, the filmmaker doesn't specifically call Weaving out, but it's obvious who he's talking about and we have to admit, we do like Bay's challenge and thoughts. "Transformers" films are meaningless, but Weaving's work on it sounded rather painless, so why bother publicly complaining? Does this mean Weaving won't return for "Trans4ormers" or "Transformers 4" or whatever the sorta-reboot might be? Bay did kick Megan Fox to the curb from the series after all her public complaints, so it's possible he could pull the same manuever here, but it's not like Weaving would be heartbroken. Will Megatron, killed off in the third film, return? Wasn't he killed off in each one and then resurrected? Do we even care? Enjoy your daily dose of film drama, we're returning to the salt mines...

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20 Comments

  • maryrachelkate | October 21, 2012 12:50 AMReply

    Michael Bay - defender of the 47%!!!! LMAO! Which one is Megatron? Is he/it in all of the movies? I go see these movies on the 4th of July to see the pretty things go BOOM! It's cheaper than the fireworks show at the Rose Bowl.

  • Sean | October 19, 2012 2:49 AMReply

    This is TOOOO FUNNY! B/c i KNEW I KNEW Bay was going to respond I just knew it! Just 2 points. 1. Whiners do suck not gonna lie. Hugo should chill. But he's most def right oh no doubt about it! He wasnt dissing the movie or Bay get that clear. Just his mind as an artist. 2. Bay is a dick. He's trying to be all brilliant & get sympathy whatever man. Your skills suck ass. Your a hack popcorn director calm the f down buddy. Everything your response said we already knew (ie the money, the integrity, blah blah...) And Bay your a dick for not meeting all of your freakin actors! Regardless if their a voice or your busy or a star. WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF DIRECTOR RU MAN?!?!? ugh just disgusting to the art form.

  • Glass | October 18, 2012 10:07 PMReply

    I can't totally sympathize with Hugo Weaving, but he's right, the Transformers movies are utterly meaningless. Every character dies and comes back to life, so who gives a shit if the movie's telling me Optimus is dead? He'll be alive again 20 minutes from now. It's just a flat line... And I really liked the first one, and a number of other Bay movies.

  • Alan | October 18, 2012 10:47 PM

    Please read the article or - better yet - consider the interview before commenting. He wasn't bitching about the films themselves, just his role within them, but clearly you just wanted to use Weaving's comments as an excuse to complain about the films.

  • HombreGato | October 18, 2012 9:52 PMReply

    I had a completely different take on Weaving's comments, and I'm the kind of guy who's blood boils when scifi is dismissed by aloof artists.

    "To me", Weaving was said it was meaningless "to me"... which is an important pair of words.

    He doesn't regret accepting the role, but it probably should have gone to someone with a personal investment. That's just speaking with honesty. If he thought robot movies were crap, he'd be spitting on the role that made him famous. (Ok, so not a robot but close enough)

  • kjfhkasjd | October 18, 2012 10:02 PM

    Full paragraph. tl;dr

  • Crowjane29 | October 18, 2012 6:24 PMReply

    If you actually agree with Bay here, you're not only as much an idiot as he is, but you're willfully misinterpreting Hugo Weaving's remarks, which were not in any way intended to be controversial or start a feud. Weaving didn't say any of this out of the blue, but after repeatedly being prodded by multiple reporters for any intel on the Transformers franchise. He didn't have any, and Bay never bothered to involve him to the extent he was actually given a full script to read. None of Megatron's lines make much sense out of context. (In fact, most don't make much sense at all.) Bay has repeatedly failed to get Weaving's name correct in the past, and probably has made no effort to know him or any other actor personally, given how many of them have now trashed him in the press. I doubt he knows who Hugo Weaving is beyond "that Agent Smith guy". Heaven freakin' forbid that any actor say they prefer to work in independent film, which is a lot MORE work for a lot LESS money, and which Weaving has consistently said is his preference since the early 1980s... yes, long before he was famous. Bay is clearly in it for the money and to win acclaim from one audience niche who will eagerly shell out their money (or their parents') for any explosion-filled, talking-robot crap he dishes out. And using charitable contribution as an ego boosting brag point is beneath contempt... and Hugo Weaving already gives plenty to charity and serves as spokesman for an animal welfare group... he just doesn't use this as fodder in public pissing contests. (Weaving isn't taking part of any perceived feud, by the way... I'm pretty sure he's oblivious to all of this nonsense, as he never meant for his remarks to sound ungrateful or controversial. He also rather wisely avoids the internet and the pop culture.) Chris Rock once famously said that it's common knowledge actors do voice gigs because they're an easy way to earn a lot of money. He said this AT THE OSCARS. It wasn't controversial, and in fact is true: I'm sure writing comedy and acting onscreen are much more difficult than the talking zebra gig. The same is true in Weaving's case, though he has had more affection for some voice jobs than others over the years. But none are hard work the way stage or screen acting is hard work. If Weaving had said this about Happy Feet or any other voice role, no one would have noticed. But fanboys are possessive and pig-headed about thinking actors owe them or need to share their level of enthusiasm, or else somehow they're "ungrateful". This is unreasonable and childish. Michael Bay stopped mentally evolving at about age 14, so I expect this behavior from him, right down to the passive-aggressive post deletion. But if you're really a fan of any actor, you accept that his job isn't to satisfy your personal whims and tastes ad infinitum, but to challenge himself. Weaving is the one showing integrity here: he's turning down easy paydays for Australian independent films and stage roles he finds more rewarding. He wasn't trying to be nasty to anyone, but a lot of narrowminded people are being very nasty to him without cause. He never wanted to be "King of the Nerds". Get over it.

  • Alan | October 18, 2012 10:49 PM

    And yet CROWJANE29's wall of text is still a lot more readable than the majority of your comments, YER.

  • yer | October 18, 2012 8:54 PM

    Wall of text. tl;dr

  • Pierre | October 18, 2012 6:17 PMReply

    I think Bay misinterpreted it as a knock on the franchise and saw the error and took it down. His work was meaningless, but that's not necessarily a complaint.

  • andrea | October 18, 2012 5:41 PMReply

    Come on! Weaving was saying that HIS voice work was meaningless, he wasn't dissing the movie (read the "I don't mean that in any nasty way" again), and of course it must have felt that way given that he never even met the film's director.

  • Daniel | October 18, 2012 2:20 PMReply

    Part of my sympathizes with the director here, and part of me thinks it's ridiculous to complain about someone else complaining. Look, you paid him to record voiceover, and he did -- The End. What he chooses to say about it afterwards is up to him.

  • RNL | October 18, 2012 1:13 PMReply

    "...Megatron, killed off in the third film..."

    Oh, gee, thanks!!

    Nah, j/k, who cares.

  • mpbstereo | October 18, 2012 12:59 PMReply

    I can't believe I'm about to say this, but... Bay's got a valid point.

  • KT | October 18, 2012 12:58 PMReply

    ... How about the fact that you are extremely overpaid and yet can't direct a single competent and coherent movie you ass-hat.

  • Alan | October 18, 2012 10:07 PM

    Yer, so Bay is "right" to chuck a hissy fit because an actor said he was more emotionally invested in indies than ADR work on a blockbuster? Bay sounds like a 13 year old in his post, coming up with comparisons that have nothing to do with anything: "With all the problems facing our world today, do these grumbling thespians really think people reading the news actually care about trivial complaints that their job wasn’t “artistic enough” or “fulfilling enough”?" Umm, Weaving was asked a specific question - about the work on blockbuster films - and he answered it honestly. He wasn't asked about charity or anything else, so why would he have talked about those issues. And, clearly, Bay does "care" if he wrote a blog post about it. I have a problem with Davis' suggestion that Weaving was "complaining". He was just being honest about the project, and his role in it. Apparently, you can scream and throw as many hissy fits as you like - as Bay is want to do on set - but if you intelligently discuss your role in a production, then "woah, dude, you are way out of line". Give me a break.

  • yer | October 18, 2012 2:56 PM

    Probably the only time I agree with Michael Bay. He is right regardless of his talent (or lack of) as a director.

  • KT | October 18, 2012 2:56 PM

    You're right. That's all that matters.

  • Laura | October 18, 2012 2:40 PM

    Who cares if he can't direct anything competent, his movies have made hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars and employed thousands of people.

  • spitfire | October 18, 2012 12:57 PMReply

    Kills me to have to agree with Michael Bay.

    But also are there any actors from those movies left who haven't bitched about them?

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