Love him or hate him, you have to admit Michael Bay isn’t afraid of speaking his mind. Especially when he’s seeing red. This time, it’s not a hard-to-eliminate Hollywood actor in Bay’s sights, but a couple of producers of his own record-breaking flick, "Transformers."
Remember back when Bruce Willis sounded off on how working with Bay was, like, the worst experience ever? (Bruno later told us he bears no ill will towards his "Armageddon" director and would be getting in line to see "Transformers.") Well, Bay responded then with a miffed-sounding blog post — then slyly injected the lament, "I mean it would be sad if he felt this way…I say sad, in that he wouldn’t be man enough to say it to my face."
Bay has returned to the sounding board with his latest blog entry, this time in response to media suggestions that "Transformers" producers Tom DeSanto and Don Murphy had more than a little bit of influence on the massive success that is "Transformers." [Who, you ask, is Don Murphy?]
Bay on the set of "Transformers"
In an entry titled "Let’s Get Some Facts Straight," Bay begins by recounting the arduous, yet rewarding (at $65.7 million and climbing, I’ll say) journey that was the "Transformers" production; 365 days of work, 36,000 miles of promotion touring, and this gem: "The most difficult actors I’ve ever worked with, besides Bruce Willis, are Optimus Prime and Bumblebee."
He addresses his $150 million budget and the internet speculators who put it at a much higher number: "Anyone want [sic] to challenge me I’ll put a ten thousand dollar bet down on the table right now."
One interesting tidbit comes as he reveals that, rather than shoot in Canada or Australia per studio requests, he lowered his own salary in order to keep production in America. "I cut my fee 30% so I could make this at home," Bay writes. "I knew this was right for the movie so I asked the other producers to join…"
And who of the film’s four producers also reduced their pay for the film? "Ian [Bryce] and Lorenzo [di Bonaventura] did, and the two others (that came attached to the project) Tom DeSanto and Don Murphy did not. That was my introduction to them – they did not want any part of their fee going to make a better movie."
So naturally, while on press rounds to promote "Transformers," Bay felt the need to obliterate the mere suggestion that DeSanto and Murphy deserve credit for the film’s success. Here’s his full three paragraphs on the subject, thanks to some quick-thinking archiving by Deadline Hollywood Daily‘s Nikki Finke (the blog post has since been removed):
"Tom had one creative meeting with me for one hour and ten minutes to be exact about a year ago. He told he was the über fan boy and was going to protect me from the minefields. The type of minefields on the Net like ‘Damn you Michael Bay’ ‘You wrecked my childhood Michael Bay’ and other various web death threats I received. Tom proceeded to tell me how much he had problems with the robot designs and script issues. I realized he was worlds apart in my vision. I said thank you very much, and then showed him my office door – I never really spoke to him again other then to mutter hello. He would occasionally come to the set with guests like it was some theme park. I never spoke creatively with Don. I read his notes kind of trashing the script and making me and the writers feel like a big shit pile. But during production Don was nice to me, he knew I was not going to talk creative with him.
One day not too long ago, the writers of our movie Alex and Bob called me in a panic saying all of a sudden after the movie was almost finished in post that Tom was applying for writer’s or story credit. I was appalled because neither the writer’s nor I ever saw any treatment. Well, he applied for credit, but the Writer’s Guild shot him down, denied him.
But what made my blood curl was something that was on the Net with Tom at the Saturn awards on IESB.net where they interviewed him about the movie – a movie I might add he had not seen yet. He acted very much like he did. Check it out as he vamps through the questions, and how Hugo put his ‘thumb print on it’. Give me a break, the guy was lying through his teeth – he had seen nada, nothing, until the press screening."
Meanwhile, Bay’s got plenty of time to coast on his uber-alien robots money maker, and has a couple of high-octane projects — the "Prince of Persia" vid-game adaptation and the sci-fi pic "2012: The War For Souls" — on his upcoming slate. Oh, and the inevitable "Transformers" sequel, which he’s in talks to make. Let’s hope that means more candid Bay blogs!