There once was a time when Michael Bay movies were regarded as a guilty pleasure, with the director himself standing for frivolous, flag-waving fun. The Rock and Armageddon certainly have seen better days than The Island and, most importantly, the Transformers series. Yet in this world full of Bay Haters, there are some who will still find kind words to say about the man who resurrected the Autobots and the Decepticons. One such person happens to be the most important Autobot of all... Optimus Prime.
I recently sat down with the legendary Peter Cullen at a press event in Las Vegas, and had a chance to talk to him about the fact that Michael Bay was, again, stating that he's going to leave the series that he brought to the big screen in 2007. Most specifically, I asked if he would miss working with Bay if he means it this time. Cullen's answer, provided below, was refreshingly honest and warm.
"I have a great deal of respect for him. He generates a great deal of excitement and energy. He's really a hands-on director. My son is a stunt man and worked in Chicago doing a lot of the driving sequences...he said he's a very, very diligent, hands-on guy. He creates a great deal of energy and puts everybody on their toes. I would certainly miss him. I think he's brilliant, his mind is unbelievable. "
Say what you will about Michael Bay's various bad habits throughout the production of his films, but if there's anything he should be given heaps of credit for, it's definitely his dedication to action and hitting his marks. We've heard how intense his process is in the past, but Peter Cullen's remarks have brought a lot more of a focus to his dedication to being a world class director of action. The cherry on top though was when he addressed Bay directly to express his wishes that he stay with the Transformers series.
"Michael if you're [reading] this, I certainly hope you are coming back."
Whether Michael Bay comes back for another Transformers film or not, it looks like the series is keeping even Optimus Prime himself in the dark on the adventure to come. When I asked Peter Cullen if he knew of any clear direction the series was going to take in its immediate future, he provided me with the exact level of knowledge he's been given on any sort of Transformers 5 action.
"It would be very difficult me to express any of the future on Transformers, but certainly the excitement that it's generated of where it could possibly go is up to anybody to figure out. I don't have access to any of that information."
As much as people don't want to hear part of what I'm about to say, it needs to be said. There are two main ingredients to the success of the Transformers franchise going forward, and they are Peter Cullen and Michael Bay. Cullen is amped and ready for whatever Optimus Prime will be doing next, and for the sake of continuity and general craftsmanship, here's hoping Michael Bay will be following in his footsteps to finish the job he started seven years ago.
Transformers: Age Of Extinction is available to watch now digitally, and will be on Blu Ray/DVD next Tuesday. Keep an eye out for more material from the Transformers: Age Of Extinction event as we get closer to that date.