Shia LaBeouf gives this advice to an actor working for the first time with fiery director Michael Bay: “You can only do so much. Fight or flight. A tap on the back and a ‘Good luck!’ ”
LaBeouf’s “Transformers 3” co-star John Malkovich — himself an intensely focused pro — needed no such well-wishes. Although it might seem like a collaboration between Bay and Malkovich would be ripe for an on-set conflagration, no such thing took place. In fact, the actor offered effusive praise for Bay during a recent interview with MTV News.
“I found Michael delightful,” he told us. “I found him fun, filled with ideas, many of them different than the take before, which I’m perfectly used to because that’s how I work anyway. I found his reputation, at least in my case, my experience, utterly unwarranted. But what do I know? Maybe he’s changed.”
Malkovich is no stranger to studio-driven action sets — he starred in “Con Air” and the upcoming “Red” — and noted how stressful it is for a director to manage a massive production with so many moving parts. He compared his role on the film, in which he plays LaBeouf’s cruel boss, to that of a relief pitcher in baseball.
“You also have to try and give them some relief from the stress of doing that every day, all day long, 14, 15 hours a day for months,” he explained. “I think with all the pre-planning and all the pre-production and all the storyboards and all the meetings, [Bay is] a filmmaker, so the film is really in his head. I think there are two kinds of people, then, who show up to work, whether they be actors or people on the crew: Either you’re trying to help him define and communicate what’s in his head, or you’re not — or you’re just there eating craft services.”
Bay reciprocated that creative respect and support to his cast, Malkovich said, including first-time actor — and Megan Fox replacement — Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. “I thought he was very good with [Rosie], very patient, very pleasant and helpful,” he said. “For her, that’s a strain, if you’ve never done that before.”