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It's rare for human characters to shine and become as memorable as the titular robots of the Transformers franchise, but that's exactly what John Turturro has managed to do over the course of the last decade. His role as Simmons has consistently stood out as an excellent source of exposition and comic relief in a series that often forces humans to play second fiddle. Turturro will soon return to the Transformers universe for Transformers: The Last Knight, but we've just learned that Turturro almost didn't sign onto the franchise at all. In fact, it took some convincing from his son to get on board to take the role originally.
During a recent appearance at the Montclair Film Festival (via Variety), John Turturro admitted that he tried to avoid tentpole blockbusters for as long as possible throughout the bulk of his career. It wasn't until his son convinced him to sign up for his role as Simmons that he decided to go for it. We can't say that we blame his son for provoking him into doing it; any kid would love to have a parent who's a friend of Optimus Prime.
That said, I wonder if John Turturro would've listened to his son if he knew that signing on for the original Transformers would involve getting "lubricated" on by a giant talking robot named Bumblebee.
Although John Turturro initially had the ability to be picky when it came to his movie roles, the actor does believe that the flexibility to pick and choose has gradually faded from the film landscape as mid-range dramas become less and less common on the silver screen. The actor said:
That last point is worth acknowledging, as this phenomenon definitely does seem to be taking place. The two most commons forms of movies to see these days are massive blockbusters or small indies with shoestring budgets. Now John Turturro goes to movie roles when he wants a fun and action-packed experience, while he must look to small screen roles (such as his stint in The Night Of) for more medium-sized drama.
Much of this seems to involve changes in the moviegoing populace; as fewer people are going to the movies, the studios are often opting to spend their money on "spectacle" movies, and a lot of mid-range ideas end up going to TV projects. Take last November for example; movies like Doctor Strange and Fantastic Beasts made killings at the box office, while practically nobody went to see critically acclaimed dramedy The Edge of Seventeen. John Turturro clearly saw the writing on the wall for mid-range films and acted accordingly by getting in on a major silver screen cash cow.
At the end of the day, we're just glad that John Turturro's son convinced him to sign on to the Transformers series because his role as Simmons, as noted prior, really is tops. Turturro will reprise his role when Transformers: The Last Knight debuts this summer on July 3. Here's everything that we currently know about the upcoming fifth installment in Michael Bay's Transformers series.