Michael Bay: ‘I’m, Like, a True American’
Yesterday, I posted a link to GQ’s oral history of Michael Bay which I honestly didn’t read and skipped right to the Rosie Huntington-Whitely part. Well, explode my cock with C4, was that a mistake. Last night I actually took the time to read this thing, and Jesus Christ, is it full of Bayisms like this little gem:
Brad Fuller (partner, Platinum Dunes, Bay’s film company): The first time I saw Michael on a bigger set, he was doing a video, and there was the hottest blonde girl I’ve ever seen in my life, and she’s got a wind machine on her. She’s dancing, she looks hot, she’s wearing a short skirt. He’s shooting her from a low angle. And he looked at a few of us, and there was this look in his eyes, like he had reached nirvana. It was childlike wonderment.
And then he made her wash his Ferrari in the desert.
Because there’s nothing I enjoy more than forcing people to read shit I liked, I included some more excerpts below because this piece is literally everything you’d hope an article on Michael Bay would be right down to him almost detonating the entire island of Hawaii while filming Pearl Harbor. Also, it proves my fake date rape quotes would’ve blended in seamlessly which might be the entire point of this post if I were a lesser man, swayed by vanity. *looks in mirror* “You wanna strap a bomb to me, I’d strap a bomb to me…”
On interning with Steven Spielberg:
Bay: I was 15. The first thing I ever said to Steven [Spielberg] was, “I really thought Raiders of the Lost Ark was going to suck.”
On earning Martin Lawrence’s respect:
Bay: By week two, Martin was being a dick to me. And I was like, “What is this attitude?” He didn’t trust the white man. That was the deal.
Lawrence: That’s exactly what it was. You know, Michael—he has a certain bravado. One time he said to me, “I need your notes on the script,” and I looked at him, I said: “Michael, yeah, I’ll get the notes to you when I get to it.” And he just looked at me with this blank stare like, “Oh, he did not.”
Bay: [Eventually] I took him aside and said, “Dude, what’s your deal? I’m busting my ass to make you look good, make you look funny. And you just keep belittling me.” And then here’s the speech, almost like it was ready to come out. He says, “I’m a black man that made it from nothing!” And I said, “You know what? I’m a white guy who made it from nothing, too. I grew up in the fuckin’ Valley.” Instant respect.
On Nicolas Cage:
Bay: One day I showed up on set and Cage came out for a scene in his apartment dressed in a purple Speedo. And I’m like, “Oh, I get it. Okay. You don’t want to wear the wardrobe because you want to show your muscles. OK, let’s just get it all out in the beginning of the movie.”
On Sean Connery:
Bay: He kept calling me “boy.” And one time he called me a “cock.” [In Connery accent] “You cocksucker!” It was his last day of the shoot, and he didn’t like holding his breath underwater. I had United States SEALs holding him down because there was a fireball going over the water, and if he came up, he would burn his face off. So whatever, he called me names.
On filming Armageddon:
Bay: I took a geology course with this tectonic expert at Wesleyan. He said, “Calamities happen; it’s the plumbers who will fix the world.” So Armageddon—that’s what it is, it’s everyday Joes saving the world.
Matt Cohan (Vice President, Bay Films): I’ve heard him describe Armageddon—at least structurally—as a comedy, in the tradition of the old Laurel and Hardy or Abbott and Costello fish-out-of-water comedies.
Bay: It’s supposed to be a joke. It’s about making fun of the system.
… Billy Bob Thornton: I was sitting at the table read-through with Owen [Wilson] and Buscemi, and we were all sitting there kind of nervously. And Steve looks at me and goes, “What the fuck are we doing here?”
On filming Pearl Harbor:
Barry Waldman (producer, various Bay films): I think the studio tried to shut down the movie twice.
Dick Cook (former chairman, Disney): Michael was putting in twenty-hour days. And he was driving the crew and the performers and everybody crazy.
Waldman: We must have blown something up every day.
K. C. Hodenfield (first assistant director, various Bay films): We blew up hundreds of bombs, multiple ships out in the harbor. I had to shut down two interstates. I was like, Oh, my God—people are gonna think the Japanese are attacking again, ’cause we were gonna blow this place sky high.
On how Michael Bay dreams about blowing shit up:
Bay: Some nights I sleep like a baby. Other nights it’s, Oh God, I just came up with a bomb shot.
On how Michael Bay’s kind of a dick to work with:
Scarlett Johansson (actor, The Island): I ran into him leaving a party once and asked him if I could be the Easy-Bake Oven Transformer. He looked at me in all seriousness and said, “There isn’t one.”
Will Smith: One day he comes to our trailer and says, “Can you guys step out here for one second?” So we go, and he points up to the sky and says, “You see that big fucking orange thing? When that goes down, this scene’s over. So I don’t give a fuck what you say—just make sure you say it in my shot.”
Michael Clarke Duncan (actor, Armageddon): He’s like one of those Chihuahuas that’s always barking.
Kenny Bates (stunt coordinator, various Bay films): If he doesn’t eat, he just goes south. If you don’t get a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in him, he has a meltdown around lunch hour.
Waldman: He said to me once, “You look familiar. Haven’t we met?” I told him I was second unit on Bad Boys, and he said, “Oh, I remember you. You sucked.”
Photo: Getty, Splash News