Michael Benjamin Bay
(born February 17, 1965) is an American movie director. He's known for an incredibly energetic direction style that some claim is impossible to follow, while a lot of other filmgoers don't seem to mind.
Bay got interested in action films when he set firecrackers on a train set, filmed it with his mom's camera, and got grounded
. As a teenager he was a clerk for Lucasfilm in the early '80s, and worked on Raiders of the Lost Ark
. He thought it would suck
, but ate his words when he saw the final product. That got him interested in directing.
He started out directing commercials and music videos (most notably the very first "Got Milk?"
ad, and "I Would Do Anything For Love" by Meat Loaf
), then Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer
hired him to direct Bad Boys
. The film was a modest hit and kicked off Bay's film career. When The Rock
(one of his more well-liked movies) came out it solidified him as someone capable of making energetic, entertaining and profitable action films.
Around the time Armageddon
rolled around he gained a very vocal hatedom
, it seems for mostly the same reasons. The fact that every film has been a substantial hit (although The Island
earned significantly less than expected) seems to have made the hatedom angrier. If you look over his interviews, especially for Transformers
, you'll see that he is more than aware of it, and even makes fun of the fact
He's well known for being a tough General on set, because he shoots and moves at a very fast pace. The movies he makes also probably would have cost 30% more and taken another year to film in the hands of another director (which, when you consider the amount of stuff that's demolished, smashed and blown up in his movies, is a damn impressive thing). Despite a belief that everyone in Hollywood hates him, his ability to work within a budget and demanding a strong work ethic from his crew and actors has earned him a great deal of supporters just for turning film-making into an actual work experience. He is ranked up among the most elite directors in Hollywood today, with strong relationships with friends James Cameron
and Steven Spielberg
But his aggressive directing style
and occasional jerkass
behavior has earned him some enemies. People like Bruce Willis
, Scarlett Johansson
, Megan Fox
(who compared him
in an interview) and Kate Beckinsale (who claimed that Bay made her feel "ugly" on the set) have spoken out against Bay and refuse to work with him again.
In 2008, possibly to hype Postal
, Uwe Boll
called out Bay (among others) for his supposed lack of talent (at least from Boll's point-of-view) while insisting he's "the only real genius in the whole fucking business." Bay's response
qualifies as his own personal Crowning Moment of Awesome
While he may be hated by film critics (and plenty of audiences) everywhere, you should always remember one thing: You mess with Michael Bay and you mess with America!His films to date:
Tropes about him or his works:
- Adam Westing: See Self-Deprecation.
- America Saves the Day: He uses this a lot—as noted below, he likes the US Military, and they like him because they always look good in his movies. One exception is The Rock which was a major aversion—Sean Connery Saves The Day instead.
- Artistic License: A few of Bay's films take certain liberties with things like history or astronomy in the name of telling a story.
- NASA managers are, as part of the training, required to view Armageddon and record any inaccuracies they find; to date, 168 have been caught. Artistic License indeed.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Bay's friends and family describe his behavior when growing up as a kid with ADHD, and that sometimes when they talk to him even now he seems to mentally wander off.
- Author Appeal: BAYSPLOSIONS
- Awesomeness Is Volatile: "Michael Bay presents EXPLOSIONS!!!!!" - Robot Chicken
- Backed by the Pentagon: He has a direct line to Film Correspondent at the Pentagon. "The military likes me because they look good in my movies." and "I am a world class ass-kisser."
- Bad Boss: If Bruce Willis is to be believed, he's hard to work for.
- Chase Scene: Which, at least in three movies, always involved a truck/semi, usually with stuff flying off. Simply dodging traffic at high speeds just isn't enough.
- He did Transformers partially because he felt that he had done plenty of chase scenes, but none that had giant robots transforming at 80 mph.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Apparently they're so thick his assistants have to translate for the special effects people.
- For the movies themselves, both Bad Boys films.
- Concept Video: His video for "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)", by Meat Loaf, features Loaf and Dana Patrick as a motorcycle-riding Beauty and the Beast.
- Creator Backlash:
- He admitted that Revenge of the Fallen deserved some of the hate it got. Consequently he put more work in trying to avoid what had been criticized in it in Dark of the Moon.
- Subverted with Armageddon. In an interview with Miami Herald, he said "I will apologize for Armageddon", and explained how being forced to film the whole in 16 weeks caused the crew's performance to suffer, but later added on his website's forum that his words had been taken out of context and he actually was proud of the movie, despite the work he didn't get to finish.
- Creator Cameo: He's a NASA scientist in Armageddon, has his car nearly taken in Bad Boys II, and is in the airplane carrying Optimus Prime in Revenge of the Fallen.
- Creator Thumbprint: Helicopters or planes flying into sunset are very commonly found.
- Cue the Sun:
- Death by Cameo:
- That random bystander who Megatron flicked like an insect with his finger in the first Transformers? Yep, that was Mr. Bay himself.
- In Mystery Men, he plays the leader of The Frat Boys (his line: "Dude, can we bring the brewskis?"), who are all killed by the movie's Big Bad, For the Evulz.
- Doing It for the Art
- Say what you will about how much Bay loves explosions and chase scenes, but he makes them look good; he's commented he does such stunts for real because it wouldn't look as good if he used CG or models, and for the same reason he doesn't like greenscreen work. In the first Transformers film, he accidentally launched a car into the third story of a building while filming Bumblebee's return to the battle in the tow truck, and he actually got a bus driving on the highway and blew it in two for the scene of Bonecrusher skating through it. When it came to making Transformers 3 a 3-D film, he refused to work with anyone besides the best. In other words, the same team from Avatar.
- He initially didn't want to do the Transformers film, because he didn't want to just make a two-hour toy commercial. It wasn't until Spielberg talked him into the A Boy And His Car angle and he familiarized himself with the franchise's history and mythology that he agreed to do the movie.
- Pain and Gain is Bay's pet project that he's been trying to get off the ground for years because he loved the story behind it.
- Enforced Method Acting: Whenever possible he gets the actors to do the big shots in the middle of all the explosions. The Scorponok sand explosion; told them to not stop running no matter what. Sam holding onto a statue on the edge of a building, had Shia LaBeouf strapped in 30 stories up. He admits he antagonized Megan Fox during the scene where she hacks up Frenzy with a demolition saw, because she was so timid about it.
- Everything's Better with Spinning: He has a 360 Steadicam® shot in almost all his films, including when Optimus Prime transforms in the climax of Transformers.
- Explosive Instrumentation: Devastator, the most complex of the Transformers in the films, melting the computer being used to render him is probably as close as you'll get to this trope in real life.
- Fan Nickname: His Signature Style is called "Bayhem."
- Follow the Leader: Bay admitted that his quick-cutting style was to bring more energy to the relatively low budget Bad Boys, which couldn't afford the same scale of actions sequences his later movies would offer. He also said that since then action movies have become more like his style and sometimes include even more cuts than even he would do.
- Genre Savvy: He knows that no matter what he does or how hated his movies are going to be, they'll be commercial successes anyways. In other words, he knows that people Love to Hate him. The exception to this is The Island which was less than successful to say the least.
- In fact, Roger Ebert (not usually Bay's biggest fan, repeatedly saying that he is disappointed that Bay stopped making "real movies") said in his review that the main problem with The Island was that Bay seemed to be Playing Against Type trying to make a more cerebral movie and that the movie reflects Bay as not really enjoying it. He essentially admitted that while he might not always like Bay's movies, they at least usually conveyed Bay's own sense of sincerity, fun, and belief in the Rule of Cool.
- Godwin's Law: Megan Fox compared him (unfavorably) to Hitler in an interview, although in the dictator sense than anything else.
- Hidden Depths: Bay is a lot more intelligent and observant than people give him credit for. He normally doesn't care much about the critical hatred he gets, but he did once make a poignant observation that movie critics have their own quasi-fandom and thus will often say things that would make them popular controversial, and hating Michael Bay is pretty popular.
- Honor Before Reason: The defining attribute of a Heroic Male in a Michael Bay movie.
- I Take Offense to That Last One: In regarding his use of 3-D in Transformers 3, he stated outright that people may hate his movies, bashing the characters, storyline and plot holes, but you cannot fault the technical side of things. The special effects, camera work and sound design are all "technically precise."
- It's Always Sunny In Miami: And it is also always sunset. With big clouds of steam (or something else) coming out of the manholes.
- It's Not Supposed to Win Oscars: Their quality aside, the man knows the type of films he wants to make and is well-aware that they are not going to get him awards anytime soon.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
- He has a reputation as an absolutely tyrannical director, but when he's not actually doing anything regarding movies he's reportedly quite nice, and he's shown himself to have quite a sense of humor on a number of occasions.
- He may just be prickly with actors. The crews who've worked on his films are full of praise for him. Moviebob says that they speak of him like Julius Caesar, a general who would rather fight on the frontline with his men.
Awesome STINGER! *BOOM!*