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Shia LaBeouf Talks "Transformers" and Michael Bay

Transformers Fan Shia LaBeouf Discusses the Big Budget Action Film


Shia LaBeouf Talks

Shia LaBeouf in DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures' "Transformers."

© 2007 DreamWorks LLC. TM & © 2007 Paramount Pictures
Updated February 16, 2014
While out promoting his starring role in the thriller Disturbia the extremely busy, much in demand Shia LaBeouf fielded a few questions about one of 2007’s most anticipated films – Transformers.

The Action of Transformers: LaBeouf’s seen footage and says, “The movie's insane. It's going to do for action what The Matrix did for action.” LaBeouf believes audiences are going to be astounded by what they see on screen. “ILM said — and this is the company that does like Star Wars and Superman, they do all the big ones…Pirates of the Caribbean…they said they'd never worked on anything like this. They'd never done graphics at this level. This is the most insane thing they've ever done. They said if they were to present their company to anybody, it would be that movie. That would be the movie to look at.”

Shia LaBeouf’s Reenergized Enthusiasm for Transformers: During the press tour for Bobby, LaBeouf wasn't exactly complimentary about working on the film and working with Michael Bay. “You hit me right when I was doing press for Bobby. I was filming the day before and then I was filming the day after. It was like there was no time to breathe. We were in the middle of it at that point. I still had adrenaline from the day before and the night before shoot. I was at the table and we were talking about politics and all I was thinking about was the f**king explosion that just happened in my head. Like talking to the dude who had just come out of the war zone, he's not going to talk to you about the nicest things or be in the most pleasant mood.”

But LaBeouf says Transformers was worth the pain. “Yeah, the movie's unbelievable. And to be a Transformers fan and to be in something that brings Transformers to a whole other level. When I was born, Star Wars was a bit early for me. Transformers was right up my alley and I know the fans directly. I know how passionate people get. I've been to tattoo shops and seen people get the Decepticon logos. I know how insane it gets. People taking the Ford symbol off their car and replacing it with Autobot symbols. …I was a fan before I was in this movie. If I wasn't in this movie, I'd still be reading the talkbacks. I'm a Transformers fan at heart. I know everything about Transformers and there's nobody who could quiz me and beat me.”

LaBeouf’s Best Guess on the Running Time: “It's going to be long,” revealed LaBeouf. “He's going to give you a lot. You've got 20 set pieces. You look at Spider-Man and it had five big action sequences — five set pieces. We have 20 and you've got to get storyline in, you've got to get the narrative in, so [there’s] a lot of explanation. You can’t just have robots fighting for no reason. You've got to explain it. The movies going to run, I think, about two and a half.”

Working with Michael Bay: LaBeouf said, “I'd work with him again in a second. I love him. He's a great guy. And the reason I say this — not many people could make Transformers. D J Caruso [Disturbia] couldn't make Transformers — for sure not. And Michael Bay couldn't make Disturbia. For sure not. It's two different [things], like comparing Picasso to Warhol, two different artists, two different textures, two different colors. Not that they're at that level, Picasso and Warhol, it's two different worlds.

When your hair's on fire, you don't want the director who's going to come up to you while your hair's on fire and say, ‘Listen, what I was thinking about — I'm kind of nervous about it — what we're going to do is we're going to put you in the Orpheum Theatre — you're going to hang by the — because at this point, the Megatron is going to come, right? You know the Megatron, where he's coming from and his emotional place, right?’ You don't want that guy. Your f**king head is on fire. You want the guy who comes up to you, ‘Your hair's on fire. Here we go. Boot up. Good. Strap up, we're going to go. Mine's right there. This is going to fall. You're gonna go? Good. Action. Boom.’ That's how movies get made. It's all reactionary; it's response.

People who think he's not an actor's director, it’s garbage because he goes out of his way to put you in harm's way so you can respond accordingly. If you want a green screen, that's less of an actor's director. That's a director who's just putting you out there. ‘Do your thing, girl. I'm not going to do nothing.’ ‘There's a green screen and there's a robot and your car's blowing up. Action.’ But he doesn't do that. He'll put a robot there and he'll blow the car up and he'll go out of the way to do the scene so you can respond accordingly.”

The Casting of Hugo Weaving as the Voice of Megatron: As a Transformers fan, how did LaBeouf react to the choice of Weaving as Megatron? “Look, as long as you make sure [Frank] Welker is in and you make sure that [Peter] Cullen is Optimus. If anyone else is Optimus the movie is terrible. It has to be Cullen. Now Welker is older, much older than Cullen and his voice has changed. I’ve heard him in sessions. He’d be great as another robot but to play Megatron you need somebody powerful. Hugo Weaving is powerful.” LaBeouf added, “I think it’s great casting, but I think the fans are going to have an issue with it.”

Michael Bay Understands Film Budgets: Love or hate his movies, it’s tough to knock Michael Bay as far as his use of a film's budget on the movie itself and not on superfluous extras. LaBeouf explains how Bay’s able to put so much on the screen: “Because he’s not putting all the actors in huge trailers, and we’re not staying in four class resorts and craft service isn’t shrimp cocktail. It’s a movie set and all the money is going into the film. You feel it on set. You know none of us got paid millions of dollars to be in that movie. That’s one of the lowest paying jobs I’ve been in, in my career. And that’s the way it goes. You do that movie not because of the paycheck. I know that everybody thinks, ‘Oh, you’re in Transformers because of the paycheck,’ and I’m sure eventually it will lead to a paycheck…when you have a Japanese following and a following you never had. But the initial being in the movie was never a paycheck. None of us got paid above $70,000 dollars. We were all there to blow s**t up.”

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