Update: New "Transformers 4" trailer here.
With "Transformers: The Dark Of The Moon" set to rape your eyeballs and eardrums this long holiday weekend, it looks like if the franchise wants to continue, it may have to do so without two of its key elements thus far.
"When you’re a racehorse and you’ve got 20 trainers, all the trainers want the racehorse to run a certain way," "Transformers" franchise star Shia LaBeouf recently told the LA Times. "…I’ve been running for a team of people for a long time and I don’t take any of it back. … I’ve learned a great deal about a certain type of filmmaking. But I have ambitions toward another type of filmmaking that I haven’t been allowed to engage in yet."
At only 25 years old, LaBeouf has lived a lifetime already on screen, running from robots hell bent on destroying the Earth while trying to show off his acting chops in films like "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" and his segment in "New York, I Love You." To be fair, before he became a worldwide star thanks to Michael Bay, LaBeouf was already delving into more dramatically oriented work like "Bobby" and "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" and it looks like he wants to move back in that direction and put the series that made his name behind him for now.
"I just don’t think right now there’s anywhere to take Sam," he told MTV News about any future installments, though leaving the door open. "If you’d asked me fifteen years ago if I would be here, I would’ve said, ‘No way.’ I don’t have a grand plan. There’s not this grand scheme. I just fall into movies. I’m blessed in that regard. The movies I’ve been involved in, it’s never been plotted and planned and picked. I was seventeen when I met Michael, and I’m sort of Michael Bay-raised. I’ve learned a great deal from Michael, as a person, as an actor, as a person on set. And it’s not that I don’t enjoy working with Michael. I love working with Michael. I would do any movie Michael wants to do. I just don’t think there’s anywhere to take it with Sam."
But it’s not just LaBeouf who wants to do something different after spending the last half decade steeped in Hasbro lore, as director Michael Bay has already announced his next project. You may not remember, but way back in 2009 Bay said he wanted to do a small movie, based on a Miami News Times article from 1998 titled "Pain And Gain" about a gang of body building criminals, and he says it’s still on the slate.
"I’m still going to do it," Bay told MTV. "I’m going to do it next." The project would be budgeted in the neighborhood of $20 million or roughly the cost of 3 minutes of footage from ‘Dark Of The Moon.’ But actually, it’s kind of a fascinating prospect to see Bay go small scale so we kind of hope that happens because the results could be very, very interesting.
But with ‘Dark Of The Moon’ predicted to take in the neighborhood of $155-165 million this weekend, you can bet Paramount will do all they can to either secure LaBeouf or Bay for another go round. Sure, they could just reboot or retool another entry as a prequel or spinoff ("Transformers 4: The Chronicles Of Huntington-Whiteley" anyone?) but that requires a bit more work in securing talent, writers etc. We figure Bay is done and moving on, but LaBeouf? We’d wager if they can get a director on board that also meets his desires to expand his horizons a little bit that could work and keep the young actor interested in the further adventures of Sam Witwicky.
At any rate, LaBeouf is already going to show a whole different side of himself in John Hillcoat‘s period bootlegging drama "The Wettest County" due later this year — his performance and the reception of that film will likely also inform whether or not the actor can leave the Autobots behind. But food for thought as after ‘Dark Of The Moon,’ Transformers fans may have to wait a little longer for their next robot smashing take on the toys.