August 8, 2022

When you’re a fan of Michael Bay and need to hear him share some superior tales concerning the making of his motion pictures, you’re about to be very comfortable. Final week, Collider hosted an early screening of Bay’s new film, Ambulance, and after the screening ended, he joined me for an epic 90-minute Q&A! When you’re not conscious, Bay hardly ever does Q&As, which is without doubt one of the causes we made positive to movie the occasion.

Since we coated so many topics, I made a decision to interrupt it up into three articles.

In at this time’s installment, Bay talks about how seeing Raiders of the Misplaced Ark as a child impressed him to turn into a director, what it was like making Dangerous Boys and the way Sony and his line producer didn’t think about the film, how he comes up with trailer photographs, how he pushed the envelope when modifying Dangerous Boys along with his quick cuts, and the way his Pearl Harbor film included probably the most difficult explosion ever achieved on movie. He additionally revealed it took three and a half months to rig the explosion, they usually put dynamite within the water.


As well as, Bay shared what it was like filming 13 Hours every night time in the course of the eighteen minutes of sundown to get the photographs he needed, what it was like working with Sean Connery on The Rock, how he found Michael Clarke Duncan for Armageddon, why he ought to have confirmed Bruce Willis some footage from the film earlier within the shoot, and a lot extra.

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As common, I’m providing the interview two methods: you’ll be able to both watch what he needed to say within the participant above, or you’ll be able to learn the dialog under. Belief me, that is a type of you need to watch.

Lastly, an enormous thanks to Common for serving to to make this occasion occur. Search for extra with Bay quickly.

COLLIDER: I learn, and I clearly could possibly be improper, that you simply labored on Raiders of the Misplaced Ark while you had been 15, doing one thing.

MICHAEL BAY: 15 and a half. Actually proper outdoors the Common, the black glass constructing. Earthquake? Was that the film round there?


BAY: 15 It is the car parking zone now, the place the subway was. There was just a little brick constructing. I used to be saving up for a automotive, a 240Z. It was a chunk of shit. My dad and mom took it to the mechanic. The mechanic stated, “Do not buy it.” However actually, it was a summer season job. And I used to be submitting Yoda’s home, a lavatory home. Actually, it had a really imply librarian who was the top man there, however I am submitting all of the stuff.

I used to be superb at baseball. I used to need to be a professional baseball participant. And I used to be on the softball staff, so a shortstop. Then apparently I used to be good, and they also gave me an workplace. And in that little workplace, I used to be strolling by a … What do you name that in Star Wars II? The walkers?

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The AT-AT?

BAY: What do you name these issues? The walkers?

The AT-AT.

BAY: The what?


BAY: Okay, I do not even know that title, however no matter. It was a cool mannequin you walked by, as a result of they’d do it like animation. I had this little workplace. At some point, I began getting from London, these gigantic storyboards from London: Spielberg’s Raiders of the Misplaced Ark. I bear in mind I am submitting, and I am going to my 15-year-old buddies. And I stated, “Yeah, Spielberg’s doing this film referred to as Raiders of the Misplaced Ark. I feel it will suck.”

Okay. Let me minimize to a yr and a half later. I might go to the flicks with my dad and mom on Sundays. And I went to the Grauman Chinese language Theater. Once I noticed the film, I am like, “Oh my God. That is what I need to do.” Reduce to even later, I used to be I feel 24. I began directing movies after I was 22 after which began doing commercials. Possibly 25, I do not know. I get this name from this agent. He goes, “you bought to satisfy Steven”, it was Steven, “at 3:30”. And I feel it was about 2pm after I received the decision.

And I am like, “Steven who?”

“Spielberg. Be there.”

I am like, oh my God. Oh fuck. So, I used to be shy. I am going to Amblin, proper right here. He is 20 toes away. He is sitting at his desk. And I am like, oh my God, that is Steven Spielberg. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. What am I going to say? I sat down on the chair, and I am like, “Hey, I stuffed your storyboards, and I actually thought your film was going to suck.” He began cracking up. I stated, “After which after I noticed your film, I made a decision that is what I need to do”. So there you go.

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Picture by way of Common

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That is an incredible story.

BAY: I by no means purchased the automotive, by the best way. Okay? I received Scirocco as a substitute.

If somebody has truly by no means seen any of your motion pictures earlier than, what’s the very first thing you need them watching?

BAY: That is query. I imply, it is like a trick query, by the best way. He is very artful. The very first thing, I feel watching the efficiency and watching the vibe of the film, the vitality of the film. Pay attention, my first film, Dangerous Boys. However let me clarify Dangerous Boys for a second, as a result of we had been three punk children working in Miami. The studio, Sony Footage, didn’t consider within the film. I used to be very younger, I forgot how previous I used to be. I am nonetheless 32, so you determine the age, okay?

It is like that they had no religion within the film. There have been occasions when there was a line producer who was very imply to us. I imply, Will Smith was performing, and actually, the lights would simply shut off in the course of a take as a result of it was 12 hours. The crew…they weren’t permitting me to rent any of my crew. They usually had been like, “That is not going to chop. That is not going to work. That is not going to work.”

I am like, “Nicely, let’s simply see. Let’s simply see.” Then I bear in mind watching Cameron, who was in huge hero of mine, watching True Lies. And he had all this cash, and once we had $9 million bucks. However a minimum of I had two guys. I used to be working for my era at the moment. I stated, “We are able to make one thing humorous.” And we took a giant danger. It is like, Sony had no religion within the film, as a result of two black stars by no means labored, till that film, abroad. That is the primary film that broke the entire mildew. The factor is, while you’re a director, your first time, should you fail, you are achieved. It is over.

So there are moments, and I will inform you one second. We’re driving to a different location. There was little or no cash, the script was horrible, however I improv-ed with the fellows loads. I am the kind of particular person the place I did plenty of Nike commercials and I labored with plenty of well-known athletes from Jordan on down. And when Will would do one thing, “That is not humorous.” I really like humorous, okay?

And there is a factor the place we’re driving to a different location, and I am like, “Cease the van. Cease the van. Cease the van.” And I noticed this signal, and I simply noticed a light-weight. And I got here up with this shot. I stated, “Get the circle monitor. Get the circle monitor.”

My line producer comes out. “What are you doing, Michael? We’ll be late…”

I stated, “That is going to be a trailer shot.” I give you photographs very quick. I put the circle monitor, and I stated, “Guys, I simply need you to only bend down and stand up, and I’ll come round you.” Increase. There we go, huh? the shot.

You try this on a bunch of your motion pictures, although. That while you’re filming, I’ve heard, I feel it even occurred on Ambulance. The place you are like, “This can be a trailer shot.”

BAY: Which one was that?

Jake instructed me at this time after I was doing an interview. He is like “we had been filming this…”

BAY: No, he thought it was a trailer. Jake thought he was getting a trailer shot. He did not. However severely, the solid was superb on this film. And also you by no means know what you get. You by no means know the vibe while you put folks collectively. I feel Hollywood is like, there’s much less rehearsal time, and we have had COVID, and so it’s a must to mainly meet over cellphone or Zoom. Whenever you work on a film, the primary week is an important. I prefer to perform a little character constructing. I prefer to perform a little motion, just a little enjoyable, just a little humorous. And also you give a vibe for the crew, you give a vibe for the actors. What I most about motion pictures is, motion pictures take a lifetime of their very own. The actors add extra, the crew provides extra, and it is a very collaborative factor. And it was an incredible vibe with the actors.

Picture by way of Common

I’ve so many Ambulance questions, however I nonetheless have a couple of different issues.

BAY: I speak loads, so I’ll attempt to restrict his query.

Which of your movies modified probably the most within the modifying room versus what you had been anticipating, and why?

BAY: Okay, that is query. Okay, head scratchers right here. Enhancing is a really highly effective factor. Pay attention, after I did Dangerous Boys, I used to be doing a method the place I used to be reducing sooner. And my editor, my crew was like, “It is too quick. You’ll be able to’t minimize that. You’ll be able to’t minimize.”

I stated, we’ll watch it.” I am like, properly the youthful era can course of issues sooner. The smaller the display screen, the sooner you’ll be able to course of. The larger it will get, it’s a must to sluggish it down a bit. Dangerous Boys, should you take a look at that, it is a very quick minimize film. I received plenty of shit for it by critics. Now you take a look at motion motion pictures at this time, they usually’ve received that very same tempo. So they offer Paul Greengrass, who I really like his motion pictures, however they offer him the props, however I used to be doing this properly earlier than he was ever within the profession.

However in modifying, it was a really fascinating course of after I did 13 Hours. It is a film that was a real story. We had the folks, the folks died there, and I had the people who had been on station there, they had been on the set. It was bizarre to try this film, as a result of I’ve achieved plenty of popcorn motion pictures. And it is like, you do the scene, and like, ba-ba-ba-boom-bam. That is the top of the tag of the scene. 13 Hours was not that method. It was very form of critical, and it needed to be plotting, and it needed to have pressure. And I am pondering, oh, that is boring. It is not going to work. It is not going to work.

Once I began reducing it collectively, and Pietro, the editor, Ridley Scott’s editor, he began reducing it collectively. I am like, wow, that is tense. However it’s truly enjoyable to do one thing actual, that has pressure. And the stress is made by way of the edit.

This took plenty of modifying. Pietro minimize this as properly. Pietro is Italian. He is very powerful. “No, Michael, no. You do not want this. No, no, no” And, “Okay, we might go for, you need some prosciutto? All proper, come over. Let’s have some prosciutto.”

However I stated, “Pietro, we’d like some humorous.”

“No, no.”

I stated, “Pietro, we have to steadiness it.” So I might minimize just a little. I’ve my edit bay in Miami at my home, and it hyperlinks to my workplace in Santa Monica. So it is like of like, it is a very collaborative factor. It has been that for 15 years. I do not know if it even answered the query.

Picture by way of Paramount

I simply need to interject, and I’ve so many questions, however I need to share a fun-

BAY: He retains saying that, Proper? I hope you guys do not need to go to the toilet. This shall be an extended session.

I did an modifying room go to, and I overlook if it was on one of many Transformers, I do not know what it was. However I visited him within the modifying room with a couple of different reporters, and it was one of many biggest edit visits of my life. As a result of Michael mainly kicked out the editor, took management of the Avid, and performed it so loud that there was paint coming off the ceiling and hitting us.

BAY: It is true.

It was superb as a result of nobody does this. I’ve achieved different edit issues, and nobody does this. It was nice. Has there been a venture that you simply got here actually near the beginning line and ended up not making? Like, it fell aside for a motive. Or, had been all of the tasks that you have kind of gotten concerned with, have all of them come to fruition?

BAY: No, however I am forgetting. I imply hear, I am previous. I am truly 32. Usually, the flicks should not essentially scripts I have been given. There are scripts that I develop. Like, I will write my very own motion. I by no means attempt to take any author credit score. I working with writers. I improv with actors. I am spacing in your query. I do not know.


BAY: I can name you all, guys, later, and emails, and I can inform you the reply. All proper?

In all of your motion pictures, you might have superb photographs. Whenever you suppose again on all of the photographs that you have achieved, is there one or two that basically stand out as “I am unable to consider we did this, and I nonetheless do not understand how we did this”?

BAY: Yeah. There is a shot in Pearl Harbor the place it is probably the most difficult explosion ever achieved to movie. It has 350 results, bombs which can be going off, dynamite within the water, seven gigantic previous battleships. At Pearl Harbor. Now we have 20 planes within the air which can be vintage planes flying in circles. Now we have the puffy clouds the place it’s a must to shoot in between the solar. You’ve gotten a pair lifeboats with actual stunt folks in there. It’s a must to shut a freeway that’s three and a half miles away. All this must be coordinated. And you’ve got 12 cameras. If the lifeboats go by the dynamite, they will get killed. So, there’s loads occurring. It took three and a half months to have them rig this explosion. A number of, 350 occasions, in seven seconds. In order that was most likely the hardest shot of my life.

You’ll be able to see on the making of, and I stored it in there, the place I am going ballistic. As a result of what I am making an attempt to indicate is the security that it takes. And the security stops with me. They had been crossing what we name “the road of loss of life”. I begin yelling at this lifeboat with my megaphone, full voice. As a result of there may be actual dynamite within the water they usually might die. So I left that within the making of, however this shot was very profitable. We did set an island on fireplace, however we put it out. There you go.

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You used on this, you are a giant fan of RED cameras. Are you able to discuss among the cameras? Like, you development of cameras that you have loved to utilizing, beginning with Dangerous Boys. Are you able to kind of discuss the way you picked your favorites within the ones you needed to make use of?

BAY: I am a giant movie man, I like capturing movie. Like Nolan, likes capturing movie. However the factor while you went digital, the labs are dying and there are only a few labs. So, huge movie man. However the issue is, Panavision, these are cameras, however they do not develop them sufficient, they usually’re so un-ergonomic. They’re ugly wanting they usually simply do not suit your physique. And I did movie, and Arri creates the 235, which is a handheld. They’d their engineers come to one in all my units, as a result of I knew that I needed a small digital camera. That was a really small digital camera. I had them develop these handles on the facet. It is the primary time they’ve ever had double handles like handlebars. And it is sufficiently small that you could maneuver and run with it.

Then you might have RED coming into the state of affairs. And I am pondering digital sucks. However it’s gotten higher and it is shrunk. And 13 Hours, I did with Dion Beebe, the director of images who’s received the Oscar for Memoirs of the Geisha. Nice man to work with. He actually has one of the best hair you have ever…I am soiled after a shoot as a result of I am the kind of man spreading the blood and I am holding digital camera. And he’s at all times simply calm and completely, not a mud factor on him. However what digital provides you is, it is smaller, it is extra delicate to gentle. So, it is much less gentle at night time, so it is cheaper. Movie takes much more firepower and it is much more costly should you’re doing night time. So, 13 hours was capturing throughout night time blue. Do you guys care about stuff like this?

I care about these items.

BAY: Do they? So night time blue, what I name, it is proper when the solar drops. And we’re capturing a Malta. Proper when it goes over the horizon, you have received the sky that, it begins to go cobalt. It was throughout summertime, so you might have about 18 minutes. So I’ve received an English crew that I’ve by no means labored with. They’re attending to know me. We do night time blue for the primary two nights. It is actually 18 minutes. I am like, okay, we’ll do 5 photographs. And thoughts you, I am a really, very quick shooter.

So we received two photographs. I am like, okay, that sucks. We’ll get higher. As a result of there was an excessive amount of stuff round. The issue in crews and film units, when there’s an excessive amount of shit, you are going to see your shit. Does it make sense? All proper. As a result of we’re capturing at a compound and we need to conceal all of it. So by the top of the capturing interval, we received so good as a crew. And it is a sluggish construct. So by the top of our interval working collectively as a crew, we had been so properly oiled. As a result of I actually had, we’d get to the set at 3:00, I might stroll everybody by way of. I stated, “At 8:02, we’re on rooftop A.” At 8:03, we’d do rooftop B shot. At 8:06, 8:07, no matter. Every little thing was to the minute. We might find yourself, in 18 minutes, getting 22 photographs. I imply, it was insane. They usually received so good at it. Whenever you watch that film, since you get that lovely form of cobalt factor within the sky, it was fairly neat. However that is solely succesful with digital cameras. RED, they sponsor me, Fincher. They let me design a digital camera, they name it Bayhem or no matter. They spent about $800,000 growing it. It is a handheld digital camera, ergonomic and it is so small.

Is that this the KOMODO digital camera, or that is a distinct one?

Nicely no, KOMODO is a brand new factor, that is a brand new factor. That is humorous, they go, “What do you need to paint it? Do you need to paint it black? Crimson?

I am like, Jared, who owns the corporate, I stated, “Nicely, should you’re giving me a free digital camera for $800,000…” It is like an promoting factor. They weren’t ever promoting it. I stated, “Nicely, let’s simply paint it fuck you inexperienced. Nike inexperienced.” And it is turn into, they paint that Nike inexperienced, which is like that good neon tape proper there, that is form of what they, so that they did that for me. And we maintain growing the sensors and it will get higher, and there you go.

the-rock michael bay nic cage

I need to leap backwards for a second, as a result of I really like The Rock and I liked your work…

BAY: I by no means directed The Rock. No, kidding.

I need to know what you’ll be able to share about Sean Connery.

BAY: Okay, let me clarify the very first day working with Sean Connery. I am nonetheless a child. Sean’s achieved 75 motion pictures. I’ve achieved, this was my second. We’re doing the interrogation scene, along with his lengthy grey hair and the beard. I used to be so scared to offer him his first path. So we do one take. All proper, let’s do it once more. Do a second take. I am like, oh my God, I received to offer him some path proper now. “Um, Sean, are you able to simply say that much less charming?”

He goes, “Positive boy. Positive boy.” So my title on the set was Boy. And he is a director eater. He hates administrators. For some motive, I bear in mind I used to be down on my knees. Results weren’t that good throughout The Rock at the moment. I needed to be a magician. I actual did not make that a lot cash. I knew I might by no means beat David Copperfield, however I did magic for birthdays after I was a child. Okay. However I had a giant quarter, a big sized quarter. And I put a wire in it, a metal bar and I might spin it in direction of a digital camera. So it seems to be like, there is a scene the place he takes 1 / 4, it flips on the desk, and that is the factor that he will get out of his handcuffs. He form of hits his chair and he dents it, and he will get out of his handcuffs. So I used to be spinning this quarter, I am down there, I am doing it myself. Sean Connery’s me and he is received this wry smile. He was a tricky love man, however he appreciated me. I discovered a lot from that man. And he actually, actually taught me loads. He was a real, true film star, and a consummate employee, and simply his work ethic. I used to be very unhappy when he handed away. So I put The Rock line on this film due to that.

You do not reference your different stuff in different motion pictures like that.

BAY: No. I imply, I did that as a result of plenty of the era, they will quote my motion pictures higher than I do know them.

the-rock sean connery

I really like Armageddon. I wish to know what it was working with Bruce Willis. As a result of that is simply such an superior movie, and his efficiency is nice.

BAY: So, the reality of this, I imply, let’s undergo among the solid. Billy Bob Thornton simply received his Oscar. I had Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Owen Wilson, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare. Come, we maintain going. What?

(viewers says) Michael Clarke Duncan.

Oh my God. You’ll be able to’t consider. I’ll inform you how I discovered that man. And Will… What’s the final title? Fichtner after which Patten. After which Michael Clarke Duncan. Actually, my casting lady was Bonnie Timmermann, New York. And the character title was Bear. Bonnie goes, “Michael, I discovered you a stunning man. He is like 155 kilos.” Bonnie’s like, this tall.

I am like, “Bonnie, it says Bear. It says Bear.”

“However Michael, he is lovely.”

True story. And so I rent this lady who did commercials and movies with me, and he or she discovered this man at a health club. All proper? He had by no means achieved something. He got here in to the casting session, and he is enormous. I do know we’re sidetracking proper now, however he is there on the casting. Jerry Bruckheimer and me are sitting there. And he begins crying, “Oh my God, my mama is rather like, she can be so proud that I am right here speaking to. I really like your motion pictures.” Da, da, da.

And it was like, “Simply relax, and let’s strive it.” The man was nice. Okay, minimize to first day working with him. With Ben Affleck. We’re in, what do you name it? The Armadillo. What I liked about Mike Clarke Duncan was the appeal, and simply being actual and he was a lovable man. I like working with actual folks and turning them into actors. And he had this voice, and was like a foul B or C actor. I am like, dude. And Ben’s like, “Uh oh, Mike, what are we doing?” It was first take, second take. I am like, oh my God, we’re in bother. I am like, “Mike, I need you to only be you. Faux it is simply you speaking.” He turned probably the most studied actor by way of, he got here actually the farthest as a result of he watched Bruce, he watched everybody. Everybody kind of took him underneath his wing. Then the following film he did, Inexperienced Mile, the place he was up for an Oscar. I bear in mind telling him within the psychology examination. I try this with all my actors, I give them a psychology examination. No, I am kidding. Within the psychology examination within the film, I stated, “I need you to cry.”

armageddon cast michael bay

He is like, “Mike, I am unable to try this.”

I stated, “Mike, you’ll be able to. They’ll love you.”

“No, I am unable to.”

And he simply began crying. It was like, he is nice. It was very unhappy when he handed.

After which Bruce Willis, Bruce, it was a enjoyable solid. It was virtually like I felt like a camp counselor, as a result of everybody was joking across the complete time.

However Bruce got here in a month after we had been capturing. And he was powerful. What I noticed psychology-wise, actors, it is at all times psychology. And he simply needed to really feel like high canine. As a result of everybody was there for a month, everybody was kind of buddies. Then Bruce is available in, and he needed to form of assert himself. And it is my third film and I am younger. I used to be about 17 at the moment, as a result of I am 32 now.

There is a motive why I maintain saying 32. And let me simply, I will get that out of the best way. The good Howard Stringer, who ran Sony, he was knighted by the Queen. And I stated, “How previous are you, Howard?”

And he goes, “Michael, Michael, we’re all 32.”

I am like, “That is an incredible philosophy.” So there we go.

So Bruce was powerful and the image slowed right down to only a stall. We had been capturing at a clip after which simply went, as a result of he needed to say himself. Talked to Jerry Bruckheimer, my producer, who was implausible. He stated, “Simply present him some footage.” So three weeks, 4 weeks in, I confirmed him some footage.

And Bruce goes, “Oh man, I might’ve been loads nicer to you should you confirmed me earlier.” As a result of actors simply have to belief their administrators. I liked working with Bruce. He’s and was an actual film star. I used to be impressed by, I am spacing on the title as a result of I have been speaking for 9 hours at this time. The constructing, come on. What’s it? Die Exhausting.

I used to be going to be like, Nakotomi Plaza?

BAY: One of many nice motion motion pictures, Die Exhausting. Bruce Willis was humorous, he has an incredible energy of, he simply holds the digital camera’s consideration. I actually appreciated working with him. Actually did.

Search for extra from our unique dialog with Michael Bay quickly.

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