When it was reported earlier today that Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner was already talking to Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg about an (inevitable) "Transformers 4" details were vague, but some new intel has cropped up and clearly, neither the toymaker or the studio are fucking around.
With Shia LaBeouf not planning to come back Variety reports that apparently some names are already being tossed around to lead the next films (yes, there will be more than one it seems, we'll get to that in a moment). And unfortunately for franchise mainstays Josh Duhamel and Tyrese their names haven't come up (not too surprising). Instead, it's none other than skull cracking, runway walking, football playing, 'Transporter' and 'Expendables' man himself, THE STAFE aka Jason Statham. This rumor has actually been knocking around since the summer, and while it now has a bit more legitimacy to it, there's still a caveat: it's still very early days and no offer has been made, so who knows how this will play out. But it is an interesting, half obvious/half surprising choice.
It's surprising for a franchise that has done so successfully with a younger lead in films obviously geared at twelve-year-olds who enjoy watching shit blow up, that the filmmakers would change gears to a star that skews to an older audience. On the other hand, Statham is a familiar, reliable action star and this is hardly a series that needs an actor. It pretty much just needs 170 pounds of a walking reflex nerve who can spout banal dialogue, and Statham can do that better than most. Again, this may (and probably won't) pan out, but it does point to an interesting shift in casting though it's still development days and the whole thing can change. Anyone want to start a petition for some John Malkovich-led sequels?
Oh, but wait, there's more. Writer Ehren Kruger has apparently come up with an idea that the studio likes that could potentially see "Transformers 4" and "Transformers 5" shoot back-to-back. While other studios have gone down that road with success (it's a great way to keep costs under control on expensive tentpole projects) Paramount surprisingly has never done it, but are toying with the idea. Again, it's still early in development and writers still need to be found, but even more, Michael Bay may come back -- again -- to direct. Yes, he still wants to do his lower budgeted, smaller scale bodybuilding world crime flick "Pain and Gain," but the thinking is that if he manages to knock it out fast, he could climb back aboard to direct 'Transformers' in late 2012 or early 2013. We're not surprised Bay is still interested -- directing "Transformers" movies is almost the perfect synthesis of everything in his adolescent teen oeuvre. And it also gives him the opportunity to get as much money as possible to shoot models and shit blowing up. Not a bad gig at all.
So there you go, "Transformers" movies are very much in our cinematic future and it will be changing into a shape we would have never expected. Michael Bay directing Jason Statham in "Transformers 4" and "Transformers 5"? We have to say, that might be the best idea Hasbro and Paramount has had in years.