Megan Fox has taken quite the public relations beating in the run-up to tomorrow’s release of Michael Bay’s coked-up CG rampage, Transformers: Dark of the Moon. But it’s not like she couldn’t see it coming. The Ballad of Michael and Megan—in which Michael fires Megan for publicly bashing Michael—is actually the most entertaining thing about the Transformers franchise, especially when unfiltered loudmouths (not a bad thing) like Michael Bay and Shia LaBeouf are the ones doing all the talking.
First, there was Shia’s interview with the LA Times, where he spoke of Fox’s “Spice Girl strength” and her subsequent rejection of the way Bay films women (i.e., like sports cars). Then came GQ‘s oral history of Bay’s career, the major takeaway being that not only was Fox fired from Transformers for talking shit about Bay, but it was Steven Spielberg himself who spearheaded the motion for dismissal. It’s revelations like that for which the phrase “you’ll never work in this town again” were invented. The deathblow, however, came today, when things got personal with the release of Details‘ cover story on LaBeouf, where the actor admitted to hooking up with Fox on the set of the first film, while ambiguously hinting that she may have been dating now-husband Brian Austin Green at the time—a revelation not even she could have anticipated.
All of this brings us to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who, as every review of the film will remind you, was the girl plucked from Victoria’s Secret semi-obscurity to replace Fox in the thankless role of girlfriend to LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky. For the 24-year-old, scoring the role was a first-class ticket from runway to multiplex; the teenage boys who’ll make up the majority of the Transformers audience will no doubt recognize her from their mother’s stolen catalogues. But until tomorrow, those horny teens — or anyone, really — won’t be able to tell you what Huntington-Whiteley’s voice sounds like, much less about her skills as an actress. Let’s have a look at some reactions to her performance thus far, while remembering that when it comes to a Michael Bay production, the word ‘actress’ doesn’t mean all that much.
Miami Herald: Bay casts his actresses based on their looks, not talents, and the tall, statuesque Huntington-Whiteley comes off as a Playboy bunny with a perpetually dazed look. When she’s standing next to LaBeouf, she appears to be a high-priced call girl who has been hired by a dork.
NY Daily News: “As for Huntington-Whiteley, she makes an excellent case for the return of Megan Fox in the next installment.”
Time Out London: “But he’s Laurence Olivier next to Huntington-Whiteley, whose blank, pouty turn as Sam’s new squeeze makes one long for the good old days of Megan Fox.”
Empire: “You’ll believe a robot can fly, but you won’t believe a Huntington-Whiteley can talk.”
Devin Faraci: “He has a new love interest this time around, Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and she made me miss Megan Fox throughout. The character feels like a poorly considered course correction from Fox, replacing a bad girl character who dominated Sam in a sexy way with a boring, empty submissive girl who is completely sexless.”
So, not that great! Megan Fox, however, is actually missed by some of these reviewers, a sentiment that only last week seemed impossible. The lesson here is that Michael Bay can either make or break your career, sometimes even at the same time.