Michael Bay’s Car And Driver Interview
C/D: In the first Bad Boys movie in 1995, was that your personal Porsche 911 Turbo?
MB: Yeah. The studio didn’t want to rent a car and we didn’t have the money to rent one. And Porsche didn’t want to support the movie. The funny thing is, at Porsche, when they saw the movie in Germany, they threw us a Bad Boys party. It’s funny how they didn’t initially believe in it.
C/D: You used your Ferrari 550 Maranello in Bad Boys II.
MB: And I bought the Aventador from the new movie. Why? It’s just so beautiful. Lamborghini gave us one and I bought one. It’s this pea color that I had them pull out of retirement because that was the color my bad boy needed to be. My bad guy.
C/D: In Transformers: Age of Extinction, you’ve changed Bumblebee into a ’67 Camaro.
MB: In the new movie, they’ve been in hiding and had to change body styles. We thought it was cool retro, but then Bumblebee goes back to being the new version of the Camaro.
C/D: Is it easier to use real cars or CGI (computer-generated imagery)?
MB: I use a lot of real cars. I went to a Chinese car company when I was shooting in China, and they were showing me the crash-test facility. And I kind of looked at it a little unimpressed, and I said to the guy, “You know what, I’ll bet you anything I’ve crashed more cars than you.”
C/D: You’re famous for shooting very quickly.
MB: I like to have an active set and a fun set. I keep my days to a decent hour; I don’t go overtime. Do I beat people up? I beat people up in that they know I like to shoot fast. And they know I like to be efficient. And that I like to leapfrog. Here’s the thing: When you’re fast when you’re shooting, there are great things that you discover. By being fast you also sometimes get more time to experiment.
C/D: Is there any car you regret selling?
MB: I was a little sad watching my  GT3 go. I sold it to one of my special-effects guys. Gave him a great deal. He brings it to the set once in a while and I feel kind of sad.
C/D: In 1996’s The Rock, you staged a chase between a Hummer and a Ferrari F355. Is that tough with vehicles of such radically different performance?
MB: That’s true. We had some amazing stunt drivers. A stunt went awry, and thank God we had a Ferrari. The driver was so good, but some guy got in his way and he missed us by like two feet. We would have been dead with any other car, but that car’s performance was so tight that he went around us. You really trust these stunt drivers you work with.
C/D: You’ve worked a lot with GM. Do they swing open the doors to their studios and let you pick and choose what you want?
MB: I walked into a special secret facility they have where they develop prototypes, and they said, “Let us show you what we’ve got.” I saw the new Camaro, and I think they were on the fence about making it, and I said, “That’s the car.” So they made a prototype for us. We took that car to Jordan, to just a little, poor town, and these kids were gathered around it and they were all saying, “Bumblebee!” Bob Lutz said that this was the best car-movie tie-in in history. I don’t know if that’s true, but they certainly treat me like that. When I go to GM, Ed Welburn, their global design vice president, literally takes me through all their design rooms and says, “What do you like?”
C/D: Did you wreck anything big-time on this new Transformers movie?
MB: Yeah, we had some crashes. But this movie feels very different from the other ones—in a lot of ways. We had everything from souped-up government Cadillac Escalades to a Bugatti Veyron and the [Local Motors] Rally Fighter.
C/D: Is there anything you wanted but couldn’t get?
MB: There always is. Now that we’ve done four [Transformers movies], car companies have found out about it, and a car will be at an auto show in Europe and then they literally fly it to my office. That’s what they did with the Bugatti and that’s what they did with the Pagani.
C/D: Have you ever been tempted to make a racing movie?
MB: They’re hard to do. It’s hard to have an emotional story that works.
C/D: So, anything you would have done differently?
MB: Everything . . . and nothing.