Weaving Vs. Bay: Who cares?

Let’s put all this in perspective.

If you’re a TransFan, and unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last week, you’ve heard all about the comments that Hugo Weaving made in a Collider interview regarding his participation in the live action Transformers film series, and Michael Bay’s response at his website.  In case you have been under a rock, here’s a quick rundown.

Weaving was asked by Collider if he was coming back for 2014’s as-yet untitled Transformers film, and he responded as such:

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.

TransFans set social media sites aflutter with their various reactions, but nothing was more widely reported than Bay’s response:

Do you ever get sick of actors that make $15 million a picture, or even $200,000 for voiceover 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”? I guess The Hollywood Reporter thinks so.

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.

These comments have since been removed from Bay’s site, which leads to theories including Hasbro’s possible involvement in holding the two pugilists back, and asking them to make nice so that everyone can work together on TF4.  Hollywood Reporter, fortunately, posted a screenshot of the post.

My question is, why should we care what either one of these guys says?  Weaving was merely being honest about his minimal involvement in the films, and how little creative satisfaction he got out of it.  Some say he came off a bit pretentious, and maybe he did – but in an industry that deals in so little honesty, I’d rather hear the straight dope from someone of his ilk.  As for Bay’s part, he’s shown his usual arrogant, out-of-touch self yet again…big surprise.  Geewunner’s opinion of Bay notwithstanding, when he can’t even be deigned to show for a voiceover record and work with his actor, it speaks volume of his directorial “style” and lack of commitment to plot or characters.

Megatron, as written in the film series, is a meaningless character, as is most of the rest of the cast, and plot.  In an age in which we have been treated to classy, true-to-source-material franchises such as the Lord Of The Rings, Harry Potter, and Dark Knight series, the live action Transformers films are an embarrassment to those that truly care about the franchise.  They are little more than cut-and-paste, by-the-numbers popcorn flicks for the mouth-breathing masses.  The robots take a back-seat to the human characters, and are reduced to mere obstacles for actors to run around, in between immature sex and drug references.

Megatron, as originally created, is an imposing figure; a military genius capable of executing much death and destruction.  Bay’s Megatron doesn’t appear until about the last half hour of the first picture, and takes a (previously nonexistent in source material) cube to the chest from a kid.  A meaningless character, and harmless comments from an actor that usually elevates the quality of a film when he is allowed to do so.

Until Hasbro themselves cares enough about their own intellectual property to entrust it to creative persons talented enough to do the epic universe and its classic source material justice, there is no reason to care what actors or directors say – good or bad – about the characters or plot of these films.

When we get a Nolan-esque interpretation of our beloved Robots In Disguise, with a plot and dialogue revolving around said robots, perhaps an actor will relish sinking his teeth into the leader of the Decepticons, and we will give more than two shits what he has to say about it.

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