Michael Bay Discusses How Transformers 3 Will Be Better Than Transformers 2
04.16.11 by Ryan
The upcoming sequel Transformers: Dark of the Moon is director Michael Bay's third Transformers movie in a row since kick-starting the franchise with the first Transformers in 2007. 2009's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen fell flat with critics and audiences alike (though it still earned $402 million at the U.S. box office), and even Bay admitted that the sequel fell short of expectations and promised to do better with Dark of the Moon.
In a recent press event (via SlashFilm), Bay revealed that Dark of the Moon has "a lot of scenes you’ve never seen before."
There’s a lot of action stuff that I’ve never done before that’s pretty cool. It’s like some agent said, "Bay’s a competitor." And what he meant by that is a lot of people on the third one will just check out and just get a paycheck. It’s like I’ve been working every day for two years, every single day, because I want to make up for the second one and I want to leave this franchise as best I can. I’ve had a great run, fun time doing it. So really, it was a fun shoot.
I didn’t want to say it’s bigger, because what I like about it is…And I’ve said this with [screenwriter] Ehren [Kruger]. We were talking about concept. We used the term "Black Hawk Down" in just that it’s a small group and you follow. And there’s no cavalry coming. It’s a standard thing in movies: cavalry comes. We tried to make the cavalry unable to come. And it’s more fun to watch our heroes in this epic ending just a small group, which makes the movie more intimate.
Bay doing anything that feels "intimate" sounds impossible, especially when he explains how he was able to take up a chunk of Chicago for one of the sequel's action sequences.
The whole problem with the first movie is I wanted to shoot here in Los Angeles to work with my crew, because they were going to send me to Toronto. And you couldn’t get a long enough city block. We were able to get three blocks two weekends. I mean this city keeps kicking us out. It’s terrible. So I had to use Universal backlot. I had to use a little of downtown till we got kicked out. But Chicago, we worked the city…I don’t know what we did. We didn’t give bribes, nothing. But I met with the mayor and his general council and I became very friendly with them. And he gave us like anything we wanted. I mean we shut down...our first day there we had 12 blocks. 12 blocks! That’s crazy!
And we did one of the craziest things I’ve ever filmed, which is these wing-suit guys. You know those guys on 60 Minutes? You see those guys on the cliffs? I’m like, "I’m writing a scene for those guys.” We have this great scene where they fly between the buildings. We had to block off a mile and a half, and they made turns around buildings, very close. But the city allowing us to do that. Jumping off the Sears Tower flying through the streets. I mean that stuff’s like unheard of.
Another new element in Dark of the Moon is that the sequel is shot in 3-D. Bay was initially resistant to shoot in the format, he eventually spoke to "the Avatar guy" about how he could accomplish his quick shooting pace and still achieve optimum 3-D effects. Bay decided to shoot partly in 3-D and convert the rest in a compromise he described as "60% native 3D, and then you’ve got 15% of all digital shots that were 3D, and then the rest is converted close-up stuff." Bay also says it was James Cameron that ultimately convinced him to shoot in 3-D after Bay rigorously tested his 3-D cameras.
Jim, at the last minute, he goes, "Mike, come on!" This is like my idol, but he goes, "Mike, come on! We’ve done everything." And I’m thinking, "I haven’t done everything." He says, "It’s a new toy, it’s a new toy!"