Michael Bay wasn’t in his Optimus Prime beyond the first three “Transformers” films, according to the director.
The franchise based on the Hasbro toys of the same name proved to be a multi-billion dollar success, with Bay directing the first five films and serving as a producer for the subsequent films, including spin-off “Bumblebee” and its sequel “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.” Steven Caple Jr. is now helming the franchise for the seventh film, slated for a 2023 release.
While promoting new action flick “Ambulance,” Bay admitted that “Transformers” executive producer Steven Spielberg originally told him to walk away once a trilogy was complete.
“I made too many of them,” Bay told Unilad UK. “Steven Spielberg said, ‘Just stop at three’. And I said I’d stop. The studio begged me to do a fourth, and then that made a billion too. And then I said I’m gonna stop here. And they begged me again. I should have stopped. [But] they were fun to do.”
The box office success of the first “Transformers” film in 2007, which starred Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox, spurred the decade-spanning franchise. Looking back, Bay revealed that the first film was “scary.”
“It was technology we didn’t know would work, and then it became very successful,” Bay said. “It was the first time digital effects were that highly reflective, so it broke a lot of new ground. It was a fun experience. It made more than [$709 million], that’s a lot of movie tickets and a lot of people that have seen it.”
Yet Spielberg’s influence didn’t just stop at advising Bay to walk away from the franchise — and the money. GQ reported in 2011 that the “West Side Story” Oscar nominee allegedly advised Bay to fire Fox after she made comments about his “Hitler”-esque directing style.
“Steven [Spielberg] said, ‘Fire her right now,'” Bay told GQ at the time. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley replaced Fox in the role starting with the third film, “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”
Bay added at the time, “I wasn’t hurt, because I know that’s just Megan. Megan loves to get a response. And she does it in the wrong way. I’m sorry Megan, I’m sorry I made you work 12 hours. I’m sorry that I’m making you show up on time. Movies are not all warm and fuzzy.”
Spielberg denied Bay’s claims. Fox later said in 2019 that she has “always loved” working with Bay and their difficulties have been due to their similarities as “very willful, powerful personalities.”