On Tuesday, TwitchFilm reported that "Michael Bay is having early conversations with Mark Wahlberg to star in the upcoming, Paramount backed Transformers 4." Not happening, says big Bay himself. "The Mark Wahlberg T4 rumor is just a rumor. Mark and I are talking about another film project." Even though the message was delivered via blog post on his personal website, MichaelBay.com, and even though he used the first person in the message delivered on MichaelBay.com, Bay signed it "—Michael," just to make sure everyone knew it was Michael Bay talking. And then, just to really make sure everyone knew it was Michael Bay talking, Michael Bay made that MichaelBay.com blog post engage another MichaelBay.com blog spot in an indecipherable, sensorially violent fight to the death on the roof of a skyscraper.
You think Michael Bay makes enemies (e.g., ex-leading lady Megan Fox, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan community) thanks to some unholy swirl of his outsize ego, his remarkable touchiness, and his misplaced righteousness? You think wrong! Sure, that might have been the old Michael Bay. But these days, Michael Bay makes enemies because he wants to save the elephants.
The flagrantly odd third act of Shia LaBeouf's still-young career reached its to-date pinnacle earlier this month, when the scruffy young star made it known in no uncertain terms that, soon, he'd be having sex onscreen. Speaking about his role in Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac, a telling of the sexual history of a 50-year-old woman, LaBouef said, "[The movie] is what you think it is. For instance, there's a disclaimer at the top of the script that basically says we're doing it for real. Everything that is illegal, we'll shoot in blurred images. Other than that, everything is happening."
Well, actually, according to the production company, no, it's not: All sex scenes, a rep says, will be shot “with the help of body doubles and visual effects."
Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci share an office — and a spacious desk — in a largish bungalow on the Universal Studios lot. The ceilings are high, the décor is film-geek-made-good — vintage posters for Michael Powell's Peeping Tom and General Dynamics, a giant Iron Man head, a circa-1983 stand-up Star Wars arcade game, couches you could hibernate on.
This is what a comfort zone looks like: Kurtzman and Orci, who met nearly 20 years ago in a film class at the Crossroads School in Santa Monica, got here by writing blockbuster entertainments both large (J.J. Abrams's Mission: Impossible III and Star Trek) and gargantuanly large (the first and third Transformers films). Together, they're responsible for something like $3 billion in box office revenue. Even their last bomb, 2011's Cowboys & Aliens, grossed $174 million worldwide. There's a black Porsche sitting sleek and Decepticon-like in Kurtzman's parking space out front.
You should maybe go see Wrath of the Titans, the sequel to Clash of the Titans, this weekend. Why?, you ask? It looks really dumb, you say? It’s not even clear that any Krakens will be released, you astutely point out? Listen: I have it on good authority that it is, at least, better than the awful first movie. None other than its star, heroically candid Australian-Na’vi Sam Worthington, said so!
Great success for the virtual acting community: The upcoming Transformers movie, the fourth in the franchise, will most likely not feature any of the principals from the first three — and, therefore, quite possibly, will feature no humans at all. Explains now-former castmember Josh Duhamel to E!: “I don't think anybody's doing it. I know Shia [LaBeouf]'s not doing it. I don't think Tyrese [Gibson] or Rosie [Huntington-Whiteley] or anybody else is doing it."
This weekend human beings by the tens of thousands will crowd into air-conditioned multiplexes, popcorn and Jujyfruits in hand, to see the surprisingly well-reviewed, Oscar-baitingRise of the Planet of the Apes. There, in the artificially chilled, overpriced darkness, the enraptured masses will fall for the friendly, CGI face of Caesar, a revolutionary monkey, and thrill to his stirring, helicopter-destroying quest for freedom — or at least San Francisco. When the lights come up, some in the audience may be moved to applaud Caesar’s eventual triumph: the complete overthrow and subjugation of our own species. As Peter Debruge put it in his review for Variety, the film provides a “curious chance for humans to revel in their own destruction,” which strikes me as wildly perverse — a ludicrous example of voting-against-our-own-interests that makes Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter With Kansas? seem as benign as The Wizard of Oz. Last I checked, the majority of moviegoers are human. Why are we suddenly so chuffed to cheer our own extinction?
It’s summer! That magical, humid time when sequels rule the multiplex, sharks rule the waters, and laziness rules Fridays. We’re all guilty of it: with the promise of a sun (and/or thunderstorm) soaked weekend just hours away, who among us hasn’t raced off to an imaginary timeshare, "lost" a Blackberry, or fobbed off sub-par work on an unsuspecting subordinate? Summer Fridays give us all license to dial it back and mail it in, to invent a child’s illness — or, heck, invent a child. Why should Hollywood be any different?
So consider this deadest of all entertainment afternoons, the industry’s Summer Friday, a day when the assistants are king, writers can actually reach their agents (on the phone!), and a season’s worth of preposterous development junk is dropped on our laps in the hopes that we’re too lazy to nitpick or, more likely, our interns are. To wit: following in the footsteps of the not-at-all anticipated Asteroids movie comes news that the lucky ducks with the rights to Space Invaders are looking for a screenwriter. (What, Zaxxon, can’t get any love?) Thankfully for them, their prayers have already been answered. Speaking of unwanted things, we’ve also got word that there are three more Transformers films to come as well as new iterations of Dallas and, ugh, Bridget Jones on the horizon. (Stay tuned for the 5 p.m. PST announcement of Green Lantern 2: Arrest That Space Chicken!)