Exclusive: Latest on Transformers 3 with producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura

Plus, how he felt Revenge of the Fallen went down.

RT attended the London press junket for G.I. Joe this afternoon, and while talking to producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura about all things Cobra, we also took the opportunity to quiz him on the future of the Transformers franchise. So as well as discussing the future involvement of director Michael Bay and the controversy surrounding a couple of well-publicised characters, we quizzed him on who we might see make an appearance in the third part. So read on for all things Transformers, and look out for our extensive chat about G.I. Joe coming up in a couple of weeks.

Transformers 2
20%
Template Image
Rotten

So based on the box office returns, are you guys already talking about Transformers 3?

Lorenzo di Bonaventura: We've started talking about it now. We're debating the right time for it.

Did the harsh critical reception for Transformers 2 surprise you?

LdB: The first one took a pretty big drubbing too -- that's what people forget. There's something about [director] Michael [Bay] that the critics just want to have at him. I think in a funny way it worked for the movie. I think people are fed up with critics. I think in a way it's making people contrarian. I think it was in this case, because a lot of people came up to us and said, "fuck the critics." I don't normally get that - you don't normally get people coming up to you and talking about the reviews - they normally just want to talk about the movie. But that was a point for a lot of those fans. It was fascinating - there's a major disconnect going on between the fans and the audience.

How do you feel about the criticism levelled against Skids and Mudflap being racist stereotypes?

LdB: Everybody has to put their own lens on these things. The intention was certainly not how some people perceived it... I'll put it that way. We didn't think of it that way, and we certainly didn't set out to offend anybody. I've been involved in a lot of movies that people have seen things in them that we didn't intend. I did a movie called Executive Decision a long time ago, and we were picketed by the Arab Americans and American Muslims saying we portrayed Islam incorrectly. And we were sort of like 'Well we don't see a lot of African-Americans or White people or Chinese people taking over airplanes in the sky', but we got into that conversation, and then you start to see their point. But they have a prism that they are looking at it through.

There's been talk of Michael Bay not returning for Transformers 3, so would you be prepared to make one of these movies without him?

LdB: As the producer I'd certainly love to see him back. I can't imagine Transformers without him. I guess the studio will see it sometime as such a big asset that they are forced to do it, but Michael has never intimated anything like that - the timing is the big question for him, not whether he is going to do it or not.

There was a poll on IGN asking the audience which Transformers they'd most like to see in part three, and the big winner was Unicron, so what are the chances of his making it into the next film?

LdB: Unicron worries me because it's so big that it dwarfs emotion. It's so hard, because when you're working to that scale, it sort of becomes outside any kind of human reality you have. It's obviously a great character, and one that we're definitely going to talk about, but for me personally - and I'm not the only vote here - that one scares me. Because of its size, it becomes sort of impersonal when it gets to that scale. I remember seeing the second Fantastic Four and Galactcus, and suddenly I was in another world and it took it away from the human characters. One of the tricky parts about Transformers is you've got these five-to-six foot things called humans, then you've got the 32-foot Transformers, then you come to Devastator and you've got 125-feet. You become increasingly small on a physical level, and I think that's true on a story level. I think if you go to Unicron, you're going to end up sacrificing your human characters. And for me that worries me because I like the human characters.

Is he not the kind of character IMAX was designed for?

LdB: Well Devastator covered it from foot to top so I don't know what the hell else you'd do to tell you the truth. Don't get me wrong - Unicron is an obvious and great character, I just worry about it from the experience of the movie.

Are there any Transformers you'd like to see that?

LdB: I love the Mini-Cons actually -- I think they're very cool. I love the lore -- every time we approach one of these movies, we go back and read everything we can about it -- that's how we came across the Fallen. I thought that was such an interesting idea -- that there's sort of a Judas within the mythology. For me, I like the surprise of that. Each time I sit down to give my vote, I like to re-read it and discover what I think. But I think the Mini-Cons are really cool.

Comments

Splitter

Matthew Burge

"I think people are fed up with critics. I think in a way it's making people contrarian. I think it was in this case, because a lot of people came up to us and said, "**** the critics.""

No, Megan Fox giant robots = critic-proof, douchebag.

lol @ "Unicron would dwarf emotion" BECAUSE EVERYONE SAW TRANSFORMERS FOR THE ACTING, RIGHT?!

Good god, what a terrible human being. Get your head out of Michael Bay's ***, dude.

Jul 22 - 09:38 AM

Stephen M.

Stephen Merges

You took the words out of my mouth...Less humans more tranformers.

The first one dealt with the autobots more and the second with the decepicons now for the third ALL OUT ROBO BATTLES!!!!

Jul 22 - 09:41 AM

Wissmongler

xou xiong

People watch transformers for a lot of reasons. Emotion has to be included because we humans are heartfelt creatures. So acting is part of it as well. Shia is great, Megan can kill herself. I would want T3 to at least be better then 2 otherwise, **** transformers.

Jul 26 - 02:14 AM

Tae S.

Tae Song

Hire another director for Transformers 3, so Michael Bay can take a break.

Aug 24 - 07:48 PM

Glenn W.

Glenn Welsh

wouldn't surprise me if there was already a Transformers 3 by 2011. there was only two years between the first and second one. i don't think they're gonna sit on their laurels while the iron is still hot. regardless of what the critics or anyone else says about the quality of the Transformers films, they're still raking in huge bucks.

Jul 22 - 09:41 AM

Stephen M.

Stephen Merges

You took the words out of my mouth...Less humans more tranformers.

The first one dealt with the autobots more and the second with the decepicons now for the third ALL OUT ROBO BATTLES!!!!

Jul 22 - 09:41 AM

Ethan T

Ethan Tabor

1. Michael Bay cannot tell a story. Period. He strings together crowd pleasing scene after crowd pleasing scene. He has no interest in the story, save for cramming 5 minutes of Jetfire exposition right before the final act. Duh.

2. Michael Bay cannot shoot action. It is nonsensical. He cannot even tell a story within the action; it's just a string of 1 'cool' shot after another.

3. "I think if you go to Unicron, you're going to end up sacrificing your human characters. And for me that worries me because I like the human characters." Yes, like Megan Fox washing a car. Let's just focus on what really MATTERS in the story, let alone the story itself. On top of that - the human characters are complete jokes in terms of development (they don't go anywhere and have no arcs), and the Transformers are even worse (they're just giant robots, they don't need to have character arcs - right Lorenzo?).

4. "Mini-Cons are really cool." Wow. Talk about lack of taste.

5. I wasn't surprised to see more racism in the 2nd one with Skids/Mudflap - remember Jazz in the 1st. Even going back to the original Transformers show, Jazz had a 'jazzy' accent, but it was done tactfully. In these movies, they don't know what 'tact' is.

tact [takt] Show IPA ,
%u2013noun 1. a keen sense of what to say or do to avoid giving offense; skill in dealing with difficult or delicate situations.
2. a keen sense of what is appropriate, tasteful, or aesthetically pleasing; taste; discrimination.
3. touch or the sense of touch.

So, there you go: Dogs and Robots humping legs; racist characters; Mini-Cons are cool; Unicron will squeeze emotion from human characters; Critics are dumb. Michael Bay is misunderstood. Now I've heard it all.

Jul 22 - 09:42 AM

Warheart1188

Tim Higginbotham

Michael Bay CAN shoot action. But his shots are nothing but action. He's great when it comes to shooting action for the sake of action.

Jul 22 - 10:09 AM

Ryan M

Ryan Marshall

NO matter how much time they give Transformers, it won't be good. Michael Bay should stick to making his dumb little teen flicks instead of ruining good franchises. The audience should e adults for Transformers, but it should onlt be brutal. It doesn't need inappropriate content.

Jul 22 - 11:11 AM

Floor Man

Floor Man

"The audience should [b]e adults for Transformers...."

Uh...what? How many adults do have you seen playing with Transformers?
_____________________________________________________________________________

I think people need to stop needlessly bashing Bay for what he does, which he does quite well. If everyone dislikes his movies so much, why are most of them so ridiculously popular? It seems as though Transformers 2 will end up being the (domestic) Box Office king for 2009. ...How did that happen? Oh. Right. Many, many people bought tickets. Hypocrisy gets very annoying very fast.

So, please, moviegoers: stop (seemingly endlessly) complaining about movies that you think are bad and better spend your time watching some you think are good. It's quite simple.

Jul 22 - 03:32 PM

Matanuki

Matanuki .

LOL. Ethan, beautifully stated, man! I had to read it twice because it was so funny. In fact I might read it again to try and wash out the memory of that bullsh.it article.

Jul 22 - 12:18 PM

Carl B.

Carl Bicknell

"Michael Bay cannot tell a story. Period."

Yes this is the biggest problem. He gives a low priority to good plot and tells it poorly when he does.
I really liked the original Transformers and hae tried to be generous to the films but Bay's two weaknesses - failure of storytelling and poor character development - are insurmountable.

Jul 22 - 10:23 PM

Nine Oh Two

joe schmoe

Times like this I have to ask myself

"Why does god hate me"

And I'm athiest!

Jul 22 - 09:55 AM

Warheart1188

Tim Higginbotham

Michael Bay CAN shoot action. But his shots are nothing but action. He's great when it comes to shooting action for the sake of action.

Jul 22 - 10:09 AM

Sputnik99

sputnik 99

When you accuse someone of racism you're more often than not jumping to conclusions. You're also forgetting to look at the great scheme of life from the OTHER side of the battlefield. What I mean is, have you ever watched a foreign-produced movie, or even an African-American produced movie that displays white Americans in an unfavorable fashion? Well you can, because I'm pretty damn sure they exist.

Why are white Americans always the racists? Maybe because we don't care when we're poked fun at? How many times have I seen white Americans wearing leather jackets, wearing sunglasses and acting like cocky *******s in a foreign film, and I just didn't care? In fact I laughed.

The Transformers movie was turning up the jive level a bit so that Skids and Mudflap would be funny, and all of a sudden they are called racist. But if they acted like fifties-style white Americans, no one would have cared. There would have been no protests or angry blogs or damnings of Michael Bay's right to live.

White people are called racist every time they poke a little fun at black or foreign culture, but don't care when the reverse is done. I have studdied history. I understand the Civil Rights movement and I even understand Muslim culture quite well. And after all I have learned and seen throughout my life, I have learned the problem is not with white people, but with the peoples who are too sensitive about being made fun of. It's like a fifth grader crying because another kid said his shoes were big.

The best way to deal with being made fun of, and this is a tried and true solution, is to just realize it's just a joke, not an insult. So loosen up. Learn the difference between a joke and an insult. There is one. Because if minorities (who won't be the minorities much longer) and foreigners ever want to be happy, they need to stop being so tightly wound up. Laughter truly is the best medicine.

Jul 22 - 10:27 AM

Zed'sDead

Ethan O'Brien

I wish that people would stop telling other people what they should or should not be offended by. The worst offenders are definitely those in which the offensive images, comments or implications have absolutely nothing to do with them.

I am a Christian, but I have not been inside a church in months, and I do not say my prayers as often as I should...I think this article is God teaching me a lesson. In retrospect, I will now depart for a church, get on my knees, and pray for forgiveness in hopes that we are never burdened with the plague that will be Transformers 3.

Jul 22 - 12:43 PM

Conrad E.

Conrad Evelich

Contraire my friend, Sputnik99. There would have been dammning blogs and hate mail. Just not for racism. Instead, Bay would be scorned for making lame characters that act like they're from the 50s. Just thought I throw that in.

Jul 22 - 09:51 PM

Geoff O.

Love Stallion

You have studied history, but you can't even spell "studied."

Awesome.

Jul 27 - 10:52 AM

J Houston B.

J Houston Brown

By the way Sputnik I understand what you had to say. However, there are numerous flaws in it. People who complain about skids and mudflap are not being overly sensitive. Family Guy is one of my favorite shows and some of the most hilarious jokes are the ones aimed at black people. It is indeed clear that Family Guy aims at everyone even themselves. I can respect that. The jive talk was one thing. When it came to them saying they can't/don't like to read it was very clearly aiming at black people. You are criticizing a group of people you clearly know very little about. I agree when you said people should be able to take a joke. Want to know where to draw the line? Take the time to understand this: In my first year in college I met a guy who grew up in an area where there are no black people. He had never met a black person in person. (Knowing him I believe him.) So where he got his ideas/beliefs concerning black people came from television and other forms of media. It took him a few years to realize what were lies and what was true. The way that you speak shows a lack of experience. You have to pretty dumb or so engrossed in your own world to not understand why a group of people have a problem with certain things. Your lack of understanding probably isn't as dramatic as my classmate, but it IS clear. That is why the black community is "sensitive" as you like to call it. The way we are portrayed on television is consistent,stupid, and deliberate. That is why there is so little tolerance of it. Here's a good example: Starting in the 1970's whenever magazines, television, or newspapers discussed welfare they overwhelmingly showed black people...especially women. The truth is most people in the US who are on welfare are white. It is very clear that this was an effort to portray Black Americans as freeloaders. It persists to this day.
So excuse me when I call your choice of words: "Looking at it from someone else's point of view" (not the exact words you used but means the same thing)ridiculous....because that clearly is the weakness in your own approach. Everyone sees the world from YOUR point of view (eurocentricity). That's the problem. It is you who don't understand the experiences of others. That's why people like you say and do stupid things and then attempt to make yourself look like the victim when you get a harsh reaction for it. These so-called innocent jabs are not innocent or motivated by light-hearted friendliness.

Jul 27 - 12:05 PM

Ethan T

Ethan Tabor

Sputnik: you have great points, and I 100% agree. I find myself sharing the same view most the time, as humor is relative to many factors (time, place, mood, history...).

However, my point was about tact, and not about racism. Just wanted to clear that up.

Jul 22 - 10:34 AM

manugon

Manuel Gonzalez

What is this idiot taking about? The first movie had good reviews and was generally well received by everyone. That's why people came to see the second one (and the reason they were able to make a sequel in the first place). But read the blogs, ask people around: Rise of the Fallen was pretty much universally despised. This guy needs to stop asking his friends and family what they think and look for real constructive criticism if he wants to make better movies.

Jul 22 - 10:38 AM

David M.

David Mansfield

I think people who trash the Transformers movie needs to take a step back and remember one thing. Its giant big a$$ robots. **** is going to blow up, and who better to blow **** up then Michael Bay. If you want character development and **** like that, go watch The Piano or someother artsy movie!

Jul 22 - 10:46 AM

Alvah S.

Alvah Smith

No. That argument is ridiculous. We want both. We want the big a$$ robots, and a director who takes them seriously enough to develop their characters; not just fleshing them out enough to expedite Shia Leeboof and Buns McMeganfoxs' movie. Oh, yeah, we want a Transformers movie ABOUT the Transformers. ***** the humans.
Oh, Spike and Sparkplug called, they want their existences back.

Jul 22 - 08:08 PM

Matt T.

Matt Tallen

Absolutely.

Jul 23 - 05:52 AM

Alvah S.

Alvah Smith

No. That argument is ridiculous. We want both. We want the big a$$ robots, and a director who takes them seriously enough to develop their characters; not just fleshing them out enough to expedite Shia Leeboof and Buns McMeganfoxs' movie. Oh, yeah, we want a Transformers movie ABOUT the Transformers. ***** the humans.
Oh, Spike and Sparkplug called, they want their existences back.

Jul 22 - 08:11 PM

dj Mark

Mark Marquis

Unicron would DEHUMANIZE the characters? Really???? Playboy poses on motorcycles, nose-picking stereotypes, and robot leg humping don't dehumanize characters but one of the single coolest Transformers in canon does?

Man, it's true what they say...s*** rolls downhill.

Jul 22 - 10:47 AM

BrianMN

Brian Nallick

I don't care about Unicron.
I want Shock wave and I want him to turn into that big a$$ gun not another dumb car.

Jul 22 - 10:55 AM

harrismonkey

chris harris

First one didn't get exceptionally good reviews. The reviews were nowhere near as bad as for this new one, but they weren't positive either.

Bay is planning on doing some other non TF movie next. It would be very interesting to see what would happen if they didn't wait and did it without him.

After the first one I thought he should do the second because of the learning curve involved in what is essentially an animated movie shot in front of live action background plates. I actually thought he might learn from his mistakes and make the second one better than the first.

Now that I've seen what he did this time I'd be thrilled if he couldn't fit it into his schedule and someone else showed up for the third movie. As long as it actually had robots in it and solid special effects (the one thing in these movies that has been phenomenal), I don't see how it could be any worse than this one.

Jul 22 - 10:56 AM

TombstoneLawDog

Daniel Klein

I can't really think of what to add to this, dude. You hit it pretty solid.

--then again, I'll just add what I add to all these strings- Bay is pretty good with originals (Bad Boys, Transformers) Not so good with sequels.

Jul 22 - 12:02 PM

Greg_Arious

Josh Cane

@ Sputnik

There is a huge difference in stereotypes portraying white people as "cocky sunglass wearing etc.." or people from 50's middle America vs. this movie portraying its urban influenced characters as illiterate, jive-talking, gold-toothed bufoons. You have to look at the spirit of the stereotyping. Your examples don't offend you because they aren't rooted in anything offensive. Cockiness can be seen by some as a positive attribute. If you can find me someone who would love to be seen as an illiterate with prosthetic teeth then I would gladly accept your argument. I know you are just giving one example of white stereotypes but for every "negative" portrayal of white people you could scour the earth and find in movies Im sure there are ten for "other" groups of people. Im surprised the makers of this movie didn't have Tyrese break dancing through the desert threatening to bust caps in some robot a.s.s That scene is probably in the DVD special features.

Jul 22 - 11:04 AM

John B.

John Brandon

Wow.... Lots of big words that make no sense at all....

"If you can find me someone who would love to be seen as an illiterate with prosthetic teeth then I would gladly accept your argument."

Look around and then remove your head from your rear end. Look at Lil' John for God's sake. Are you accepting the argument yet? Probably not....

The PC bull**** is getting ridiculous... Extreme liberalism is a disease...

Jul 22 - 07:45 PM

Premo Beat

John Noto

John B.- The words "illiterate" and "prosthetic" are not all that nonsensical or difficult to interpret. As for Lil Jon, yes people like him propagate (oops big word) stereotypes, but if they had done a Lil' Jon imitation as opposed to Mr. Bojangles it would have been funny instead of offensive.

And liberalism has nothing to do with offensive material in a wide-release movie.

Jul 22 - 07:50 PM

John B.

John Brandon

Wow.. It took me more time to check my email that it did for you to respond to this post. Be careful who who chastise on the internet as its anonymity (oops big word.... Jackass) not only emboldens the person making the post but also who retorts. I am in no way intimidated by large words nor punctuation as you seem to insinuate (oops) in your previous post. By the way, you should invest in a grammar guide at the nearest Barnes and Noble stat!! (The contractions in question are in your previous post and should have been "I'm", not "Im"(As in "I am"). "Im" is not a word in the English language. It may be a nickname or something but I would check the dictionary before you quoted me on that. The fact of the matter is that you and your ilk seem to be increasingly offended by every little harmless jab at race, ethnicity, shoe size, favorite food, favorite color, etc... I concur that the twins were a little over the top. I really do. However, can you honestly say that it really matters in the grand scheme of things are or you just looking for a cause to champion? You are obviously a sanctimonious (oops) dork who probably lives for cinema and likes to exercise his/her (gotta be PC) dominance over 13 year old internet surfers who dare to post on "your" site and dare to have an opinion that differs from the "enlightened" opinion that you possess. That's (That is) great but I will ask you this question and leave you to your anger and misery, Is it worth it to sit in your room while your mom is downstairs and scream at the monitor when you could be going outside to get some fresh air and exercise? Think about it....

Jul 22 - 08:19 PM

Premo Beat

John Noto

Already got my exercise, I'm 300 miles away from my girlfriend, not in school and don't yet have a job. I like to talk about movies. Not that any of that matters as this is an internet forum for discussion and if you're not down with that then why participate as you have?

I'm not really sure where the contraction you are speaking of occurred, I checked the posts I made and couldn't find it. But if I did use "im" instead of "I'm", it was a matter of speed-typing and not a misunderstanding of the English language.

You were the one complaining about big words, not me. And I would much rather engage in thoughtful discussion (whether or not their opinion diverges from mine on any particular matter) than chastise morons like Magic is Might, Art V., and D Effin W.

Jul 22 - 09:11 PM

John B.

John Brandon

"There is a huge difference in stereotypes portraying white people as "cocky sunglass wearing etc.." or people from 50's middle America vs. this movie portraying its urban influenced characters as illiterate, jive-talking, gold-toothed bufoons. You have to look at the spirit of the stereotyping. Your examples don't offend you because they aren't rooted in anything offensive. Cockiness can be seen by some as a positive attribute. If you can find me someone who would love to be seen as an illiterate with prosthetic teeth then I would gladly accept your argument. I know you are just giving one example of white stereotypes but for every "negative" portrayal of white people you could scour the earth and find in movies Im sure there are ten for "other" groups of people. Im surprised the makers of this movie didn't have Tyrese break dancing through the desert threatening to bust caps in some robot a.s.s That scene is probably in the DVD special features."

This is the post I was responding to. Was it yours or have I made a horrible mistake? As it stands, there are no "Greg_Arious" posts anywhere near the "reply" botton I clicked. Did you change your ID? If I made a mistake, please accept my most humble apologies. If I did not then my previous post still stands.

Jul 22 - 09:29 PM

Castor Troy

Derek Williams

Explain to me how I am a moron. I'd really love to have your insight... considering you and your stature. An internet mogul.

Jul 22 - 11:28 PM

Ryan M

Ryan Marshall

Michael Bay just has the creativity of a 2 year old that is home schooled. Transformers could be great, but a new directer is needed in order for it top be good.

Jul 22 - 11:08 AM

Ryan M

Ryan Marshall

NO matter how much time they give Transformers, it won't be good. Michael Bay should stick to making his dumb little teen flicks instead of ruining good franchises. The audience should e adults for Transformers, but it should onlt be brutal. It doesn't need inappropriate content.

Jul 22 - 11:11 AM

Floor Man

Floor Man

"The audience should [b]e adults for Transformers...."

Uh...what? How many adults do have you seen playing with Transformers?
_____________________________________________________________________________

I think people need to stop needlessly bashing Bay for what he does, which he does quite well. If everyone dislikes his movies so much, why are most of them so ridiculously popular? It seems as though Transformers 2 will end up being the (domestic) Box Office king for 2009. ...How did that happen? Oh. Right. Many, many people bought tickets. Hypocrisy gets very annoying very fast.

So, please, moviegoers: stop (seemingly endlessly) complaining about movies that you think are bad and better spend your time watching some you think are good. It's quite simple.

Jul 22 - 03:32 PM

A J.

A J

There is an easy way to not worry about the human aspect, get rid of some of the non-important humans. Get rid of mom, dad and the stupid dog(s). It reminds me of the New Knight Rider TV series, to many people, not enough KITT. Sam is a great choice for his story and Megan Fox's role sucks, but she is F'n hot. All in all, I still stick by my review. Even with my mispelled words, LOL...I was tired :P

Jul 22 - 11:40 AM

jdinc1998

Justin Demmett

Unicron? I want to see Dinobots.

Jul 22 - 11:43 AM

rt-ryan

Ryan Fujitani

Yes, Dinobots. That's what I'm talkin about...

Jul 22 - 12:00 PM

Nine Oh Two

joe schmoe

Dinobots huh?

Well this is Michael Bay, so I'm sure anything is possible...

Dinobots Maximize!!!

Jul 22 - 12:04 PM

A J.

A J

P.S.

In Michael Bay's defense, his special effect ideas are great. If you want story structure, go with Mel Gibson, lol. At least thats what they say in the South Park eps/movie Imagination Land xD

Jul 22 - 11:46 AM

Paints Hz Shirt Red

krookedlegs Eagle Tail

i for one liked the transformers films. no they were not great, but it was entertaining. i do have to admit the tf2 story was weak and the film was choppy. but the special effects were badass.

Jul 22 - 11:54 AM

What's Hot On RT

Total Recall
Total Recall

Johnny Depp's Best Movies

24 Frames
24 Frames

Picture gallery of movie bears

Summer Movies
Summer Movies

10 most anticipated blockbusters

<em>Mad Men</em>
Mad Men

Read reviews for Season 7 premiere

Find us on:                 
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile