One of the most familiar sayings in Hollywood is “Be nice to the people on your way up. They may be the same people you meet on the way down.” Apparently the saying has been lost on a few people as the latest Hollywood “feud” between actor Hugo Weaving and producer/director Michael Bay has hit online amidst quite a bit of fan controversy.
Earlier last week Weaving spoke to various media outlets regarding his participation on several films. One of those comments included his reluctance (okay his extreme unwillingness) to return as Red Skull in the Marvel films. But it’s his comments about playing the voice of Megatron in the ‘Transformers’ films that seemed to hit home with Bay.
Weaving, by all means, is not the first who has come out against the director and his ‘Transformers’ franchise. Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf both spoke out about the director/producer but it was the comments from Weaving that may have been the last straw.
“No. That’s a weird job for me because it honestly was a two-hour voice job, initially. I was doing a play and I actually didn’t have time, anyway. It was one of the only things I’ve ever done where I had no knowledge of it, I didn’t care about it, I didn’t think about it. They wanted me to do it. In one way, I regret that bit. I don’t regret doing it, but I very rarely do something if it’s meaningless. It was meaningless to me, honestly. I don’t mean that in any nasty way. I did it. It was a two-hour voice job, while I was doing other things. Of course, it’s a massive film that’s made masses of money. I just happened to be the voice of one of the iconic villainous characters. But, my link to that and to Michael Bay is so minimal. I have never met him. I was never on set. I’ve seen his face on Skype. I know nothing about him, really. I just went in and did it. I never read the script. I just have my lines, and I don’t know what they mean. That sounds absolutely pathetic! I’ve never done anything like that, in my life. It’s hard to say any more about it than that, really.”
After hearing about Weaver’s comments, Bay quickly took to his computer and blogged a rather scathing retort. Although he didn’t name names, it was quite obvious who the comment was directed at:
“Do you ever get sick of actors that make $15 million a picture, or even $200,000 for voice-over work that took a brisk one hour and 43 minutes to complete, and then complain about their jobs?
With all the problems facing our world today, do these grumbling thespians really think people reading the news actually care about trivial complaints that their job wasn’t “artistic enough” or “fulfilling enough”? [...] What happened to people who had integrity, who did a job, got paid for their hard work, and just smiled afterward? Be happy you even have a job — let alone a job that pays you more than 98% of the people in America.
I have a wonderful idea for all those whiners: They can give their “unhappy job money” to a wonderful Elephant Rescue. It’s the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Africa. I will match the funds they donate.”
The post has since been taken down but not before other media outlets like THR got a hold of it. But is this a case of Bay getting his pants in a knot before really understanding what Weaving was trying to say?
Most would just take Weaving’s comments at face value. He was asked to do a voice over, he went in, read lines, met the director via Skype and got paid. He didn’t have to research the role and he didn’t have to sit in make-up or be loaded up with prosthetics to become Megatron. Compared to other roles he’s had, such as his work on ‘Cloud Atlas,’ and Elrond in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ trilogies, reading lines in a recording studio can be considered “meaningless” although a better word to have described the experience would have been better utilized.
Bay on the other hand, may have jumped the gun with his response but this is not anything new. His responses to his latest changes for the reboot of ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ sparked a firestorm of derision among Turtle fans. And when Megan Fox decided to compare Bay to Hitler, he also sharply responded by saying:
“Well, that’s Megan Fox for you. She says some very ridiculous things because she’s 23 years old and she still has a lot of growing to do. You roll your eyes when you see statements like that and think, ‘OK Megan, you can do whatever you want. I got it. Nick Cage wasn’t a big actor when I cast him, nor was Ben Affleck before I put him in Armageddon. Shia LaBeouf wasn’t a big movie star before he did Transformers – and then he exploded. Nobody in the world knew about Megan Fox until I found her and put her in Transformers.”
Whether it was common sense or Hasbro calling Bay up and telling him to play nice, his post to Weaving’s comments can no longer be found but has the damage already been done? What is known is that the ‘Transformers’ franchise is Bay’s baby, and like a mother tiger protecting its cub, Bay will not allow anyone to belittle his work.
Will this be the end of Megatron? After all, he was killed in the last film. Or do you think Weaving has a point? Whether you are on Team Bay or Team Weaving, it looks like this battle of who is more important in the business may continue to be fought behind the scenes.