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TCC Exclusive: Transformers - Revenge Of The Fallen at Toy Fair Interview!


TCC Exclusive: Transformers Revenge of the Fallen
at Toy Fair 2009

By Brian Savage

Last night, we were treated to a special “taste” of what the Transformers buffet will be serving up in June. At Toy Fair in New York City, Hasbro and Paramount provided an inside look for industry executives, key retailers and industry partners. Talk about a blockbuster…well…actually we can’t talk about what we saw much at all. We can tell you that it has a lot of explosions, amazing sound, great action and great comedy. If movie one was steak, this one comes with sizzle, lobster, potatoes and dessert! All the elements from the first movie were there, and once again, seamlessly connected to provide a thrilling experience!

You think you saw some robots in the first movie? You won’t believe how many are in this film; over forty different transformers! Once again, Revenge of the Fallen promises to be a feast for the eyes and ears.

The evening kicked off with a welcome by Brian Goldner, Producer and Hasbro Chief Executive Officer, welcoming everyone and thanking them for their support of the Transformers franchise. Next Wayne Charness, Senior Vice President, Hasbro Corporate Communications, kicked off the night with a few interview questions directed at Brian Goldner, Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, and Tyrese Gibson who plays Master Sergeant Epps, and Director Michael Bay. Due to the tight security, no recording devices were allowed in the event, and all questions and answers are paraphrased.


WC: Michael, the first movie was such an amazing success how is Revenge of the Fallen going to be different?

MB: From learning the mythos, to figuring out how to make the robots transform on the big screen, the first movie involved a lot of discovery. In addition, it was a story about a boy getting his first car and finding his first girl friend. The second movie is a coming of age story, encompassing global issues, and bringing the robots to a new level. If every boy in the world didn’t want a Bumblebee in his garage from the first movie, they will from the second. All of the robots in this film are superhero tough. I’ll tell you I am very passionate about this film.

LdB: Yes, in the first movie, boy gets car, boy finds girl, but this one really explores the idea of responsibility as Sam leaves for college. He thinks he wants to lead a normal college life but finds out some of his decisions don’t work out so well for not only him, but also the whole world.

WC: Brian, can you tell us a little about your journey making the new film?

BG: What I discovered is what a great partner we have in Paramount with this rich franchise. We have been blessed with a great set of team players from both sides as this mythology is very diverse and only with a great team can you explore all these different layers. For example in one of the early production meetings Alex and Bob (writers) were wondering if the robots would take an earthly form and what we all agreed that we wanted, was for kids to be looking at the cars in the parking lot, after they left the movie, wondering if one of these cars just might be a robot in disguise.

WC: Tyrese, how does your character evolve in the new film?

TG: Well, I’ll be calling in more air strikes, and I am now a Master Sgt. There was a ton of pressure from the first movie to get it right but now the pressure in the second movie was to get it right, but with a sense of urgency, to get this back out to the fans.

WC: Michael, the first movie was such an amazing success how is Revenge of the Fallen going to be different?

LdB: Yes, there was a lot of urgency. You know some studios would have wanted Michael to shoot more than one movie at the same time, but that’s just not right for Transformers. Transformers has really evolved from movie to movie and is now on a much bigger scale, but with more intimacy.

MB: For this franchise, you’re right, producing multiple movies at the same time is not the way to do it. We listened to feedback from the fans, and were able to put a lot of that into the second film. This is a bigger film with a great storyline.
WC: Brian, how does this film evolve the mythology?

BG: We all know that everyone is hungry for the next level of mythos, so we really want everyone to wonder what Revenge of the Fallen means.

LdB: It is a very deep mythology and most people just don’t know how deep it is.
MB: Yes, this film will satisfy all types of fans as I have included my trademark humor, more intimacy with the humans and robots, and Moms will think it is safe enough to bring the kids back out to the movies.

TG: The humor often times is created on the spot. Something happens on the set and Michael lets us keep it in the film. I know I still get comments from kids about my “left cheek”. I don’t know if that will ever go away and that was a spontaneous comment that just came out when we were filming the first film.

I’ll tell you what has really meant the most to me, are the comments I got from real Master Sgts in the military. Some of the guys that were in Afghanistan told me that when they explained to their kids that their job was just like what they saw me do in Transformers, it made “them cool to their kids”.

WC: Brian, tell us what this brand has meant outside of the US.

BG: In my travels all over the world, I have found that the experience has been the same. Retailers have said that their response was incredible with the movie products. In China alone in 2008, the brand grew in double digits. We found that the Transformers story contains universal truths that people all over the world regardless of culture seem to get .

After the preview was shown, Director Michael Bay spoke exclusively with Rik Alvarez of the Transformers Collectors’ Club.

RA: How did making this film compare to the first? How did the fans reaction to the first film change what you did in the second film?

MB: The fans are very vocal and we listened. I worked very closely with the writers in order to dive more deeply into the mythology. We really looked for elements that have never been explored and we discovered some story lines that we wanted to elaborate. This is a coming of age story for Sam but we also wanted to delve much deeper into the personalities of the robots. There is much, much more robot interaction in this film. This film has many more personal moments but will also appeal to the hardcore fans as it can be wicked at times.

RA: Special effects software and camera technology have made advancements since the first film. How has this empowered you to further realize your vision for Revenge?

MB: The developments in technology have allowed us to have the robots show emotion. This is a robot movie and this new technology allows us to explore a greater depth of personality from these characters.

RA: No other director has the kind of relationship that you have developed with the US Military. What piece of hardware did you get access to that are you most excited about for this coming film?

MB: It’s like I have a direct line to the Pentagon. This is the first movie where actual F16’s have made a bombing run on a movie set and coordinated with special effects explosions. We were on a working nuclear submarine and working aircraft carrier. The military loved the first movie. It really helped with recruiting and promoting a positive image for them. Now they are happy to do just about anything they can for my films. We also found out that in Afghanistan the Buffalo(s) (Bonecrusher vehicle from the first movie) have all been nicknamed different Transformers characters by their personnel. We also worked with tanks firing real rounds and you have not lived until you have heard an actual tank firing. We have so much access - I am appreciative and excited about all the military vehicles we use.

RA: Filming at the pyramids must have been amazing! What were the greatest challenges you faced?

MB: This is the first time in 30 years that anyone has filmed at the pyramids and the first time ever anyone has filmed from the top of Petra. Steven filmed Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade from the base of Petra. It took 21 very heavy helicopter loads to get all our gear to the top. We had all the access we wanted in Egypt as we found out that the head of Egyptian Antiquities Dr. Zahi Hawass is a big Transformers fan and was very helpful. We also filmed in the desert where Lawrence of Arabia was filmed. Very challenging conditions.

RA: We know you love to blow things up in your movies, what is your favorite thing to blow up or demolish?

MB: Well, I don’t have a favorite, as I like to blow up a lot of things. The most expensive thing I’ve blown us was a $50 million dollar house that no one would buy in Bad Boys II.

RA: Is there anything else you would like to tell the fans about this great new movie?

MB: Fans should know that I really want to satisfy them by making an even better movie than the first one. Tonight was just a taste of what is to come. Not a scene shown was a “money shot” from the film. I really want to keep them a secret to give everyone a great surprise this summer. Oh yes, and all the previews you have seen so far, you won’t get a bit of the final story from the trailers. The final movie will be so much more than what you “think” you have seen in the previews.

Thanks to Hasbro and Paramount for allowing us the opportunity for this sneak peek into the production of Revenge of the Fallen! Watch for this movie coming to a theatre near you June 24, 2009!


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