"Why isn't everything exploding?!"
Staggering into the silence of the theater lobby after the ordeal was over, I found a big poster that was fresh off the presses with the quotes of junket blurbsters. "It will obliterate your senses!" reports David Gillin, who obviously writes autobiographically.
"Directors are often known for their trademarks. For example, Hitchcock had blondes and the Dolly Zoom, while Tarantino loves him some feet and POV trunk shots. Michael Bay’s trademark — the unadulterated HILARITY of gays."
Jay: I dunno what the next story beat is with any of these.
Mike: The Michael Bay Misogynistic, Dehumanizing Woman on Motorcycle/Car shots. That has yet to happen in this one. It's happened in this one and that one...
Jay: They have a closeup of her butt in that one.
"What a bizarre, frightening vision Michael Bay has, where everyone exists in a world that doesn't rotate, trapped in eternal twilight and pinned in a sweltering heat wave, sweaty and oily with the sun always directly behind them no matter which way they face. Everyone runs around in silhouette because of the blazing sun perpetually stuck just over the horizon. Every time someone gets out of a car or a helicopter (which they do as often as possible), it's in a slow-motion "glory shot" with the camera angled up so we can see the sunset behind them, preferably with rotors chopping out a low "whoof-whoof-whoof" in the background. I have no idea how Michael gets anything done if his idea of a full shooting schedule is "shoot for one hour at sunrise, take a twelve-hour lunch, shoot for an hour at sundown.""
DAY 1: I woke up from a dream where a bomb falls, but I see it from a bombs point of view. I got up out of bed and wrote it down. Nobody’s ever seen that before.
DAY 3: I tell my friends about the dream. I tell them my idea for the shot. Long silence. One of my artsy-fartsy friends pipes up: “Say, Michael. Have you ever seen ‘Dr. Strangelove?’” I haven’t. Sounds weird. I don’t have time for weird.
DAY 12: ‘Pearl Harbor’ script hits my desktop and my imagination starts rolling. Things blew up at Pearl Harbor. Things blew up real good. I got it in my head to do a 2 ˝ hour movie about things blowing up at Pearl Harbor.
DAY 15: (Producer) Jerry Bruckheimer tells me, “No, we can’t do 2 ˝ hours of things blowing up.” I defended, “Well, we could, actually. See, here’s what I’m thinking: ‘Titanic.’ Huh? Over a billion dollars worldwide. Three hours…love story…human tragedy…only nothing blew up. WE can blow things up!”
DAY 98: Casting. Somebody suggested hiring a guy named Benny Fleck. Never heard of him. “Who’s gonna play the chick?” someone asked. I hadn’t thought of that. Cameron had Kate Winslet, whom nobody ever heard of. So I thought, ‘let’s get another somewhat obscure art-house non-American actress named Kate and see what happens.’ To make a long story short, we got Benny Fleck and Kate Beckenslavage, or something like that.
DAY 111: Took a day off from filming today. Spent it in a nice, quiet coffee shop reading Persuasion, by Jane Austin. I noticed a quaint little semi truck sitting across the street. There it was. Just sitting there. Minding its own business. Mocking me. The truck started to mock me. It laughed at me. Why was it laughing at me? I couldn’t take it anymore. I lobbed ten grenades in its direction and blew the fucker to kingdom come. That’ll show it!
DAY 120: First day of shooting. I lined up my cast and crew and basically re-created the first 10 minutes of ‘Full Metal Jacket,’ the only part of any Stanley Kubrick movie I’ve ever seen. I gave them the usual speech about how I love to kill people when working on the set. I love to take people and crack their spines over my knee like firewood. If you second-guess my directing, suggest re-writing a scene or try to play the part of ‘Technical Advisor’ by telling me something is not historically accurate, I will take out my pistol and blow a hole clean through your insides. But the method works because all my movies are box office hits.
DAY 137: We try our first love scene. In the scene, Ben has his nose bandaged up from some accident. He looks up at her and says: “You’re so beautiful it hurts.” She says, “It’s your nose that hurts.” “I think it’s my heart, “ he replies. One take. Cut. Next shot. Some of the crew members were laughing. I had them executed the next day.
DAY 170: Blew up more stuff today. I strangled my cinematographer and managed to keep it out of the press. All in a day’s work.
DAY 175: I love the smell of blowing things up in the morning.
DAY 177: I decided to blow up my car. I left it in the parking lot next to Ben Fleck’s. I blew his up too. He was mad at first, but then I told him, ‘Just wait. This movie’s going to be HUGE!!!’ He was okay after that.
DAY 181: We did the bomb-point-of-view shot today. Again, somebody asked if I had seen ‘Dr. Strangelove.’ I put a grenade in his mouth, pulled the pin and filmed him blowing up. I made a mental note to use it in a process shot in post-production. You never know.
DAY 222: Jon Voight showed up to play F.D.R. We shot a scene of the wheelchair-bound president attempting to get out of his chair and stand at the table, trying to prove a point. Suddenly, and I’m guessing this is a joke, Voight screams, “Mien Furher! I can valk!” The crew laughed. I didn’t get it. They’ll never work in this town again.
— Colin Souter, "Michael Bay's Diary"