Pain' Is Michael Bay's Gain

Posted on Dec 12, 2001

By Michael Fleming

NEW YORK (Variety) – “Pearl Harbor” director Michael Bay is pumped to shoot “Pain and Gain,” a dark film about steroid-abusing bodybuilders who engage in a campaign of kidnapping, extortion and murder in Florida.

The project will mark Bay’s first for Paramount Pictures, which optioned a series of investigative articles written by Pete Collins for the Miami New Times about the Sun Gym gang. Much as they used steroids as a shortcut to rippling pecs and six-pack abs, the gang used crime as a shortcut to the high life of fast cars, flashy clothes and strippers.

“I had been looking for a movie with the tone of ‘Fargo’ for a long time, and even though this is violent, this story has that potential,” said Bay, who also wanted to make a film with a modest budget after directing only expensive action films, such as “The Rock” and “Armageddon.”

“These guys are knuckleheads who get away with doing very bad things and committing very violent acts. They were greed-obsessed muscleheads who could never be happy with what they had, always wanting more,” Bay added.

The gang ringleaders seem a mix between the “Fargo” characters and “Saturday Night Live” duo Hans and Franz. The Sun Gym gang got away with increasingly bolder crimes, even though they were bumblers who left a trail like a caterpillar. The gang finally got caught after murdering a couple, only to discover they hadn’t properly fleeced their assets and murdered them for nothing.

Bay will likely direct a film before “Pain and Gain. Possibilities include a “Bad Boys” sequel and the Warner Bros. project “I Am Legend,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Bay will produce “Pain and Gain” with former Disney exec Donald De Line, who has a first-look deal at Paramount.