Michael Bay has made his name virtually synonymous with explosions, a style of filmmaking that takes the excesses of your average summer blockbuster, and then jabs a syringe of adrenalin into its heart. He makes popcorn movies, if that popcorn was buttered with thermite. Given the billions of dollars the Transformers franchise has raked in, it seems like a no-brainer than Michael Bay would just keep making movies about giant robots until he dies. As it turns out, however, Bay's next flick might be a crime comedy in the vein of Fargo.
For years, Bay has been talking about a small passion project of his called Pain and Gain. It's been described as in the vein of Pulp Fiction, and Bay called it "a fun character piece. No action. One car crash." Sounds about as un-Bay as you can get, but according to Bay and screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus, Pain and Gain has been moved to the front burner. In an interview with The Playlist blog, the Captain America screenwriters dropped a few more details about the project and explained why it's taken so long to get going. Markus said:
You have a huge director who has directed a series of massive, moneymaking films that the studios would very much like for him to continue making. And it is an uphill climb for him to say, 'You know, I’d like to grind a massive moneymaking machine to a halt for a second to make a movie about weightlifters.'
McFeely and Markus compare the script's tone to the Coen Bros.' Fargo. Based on a Miami New Times article, Pain and Gain would tell the story of an extortion and kidnapping ring run by a pair of bodybuilders in Florida. While the real-life story includes plenty of dark material, including beatings and torture, the screenwriters don't see this as an obstacle to comedy. Markus said, "Your main characters are not your moral center ... In a weird way, morality just sort of finds its own level, because what the people are doing is so explicitly wrong that right becomes almost clearer."
McFeely added, "It’s a dance, because you’re rooting for them to get caught, but we couldn’t make them un-understandably evil ... The challenge is maybe to more figure out why these guys, why this series of crimes, made sense to these guys, and why they would do it."
Stay tuned to Cinema Blend for more on Pain and Gain as it develops.