The Transformer franchise is growing up with Mark Wahlberg taking over from Shia LeBeouf. Set four years after the last film, Transformers: Age of Extinction is the start of a new trilogy. And the 43-year-old star of films like The Fighter, Ted and The Perfect Storm, is quite excited about his role. Having watched the previous films with his kids, he says this one is a little edgier. The actor talks to us about working with director Michael Bay, his role and being a father.
How did this role come to you?
I had a great working relationship with Michael Bay on Pain & Gain. Then one day he just kind of approached me and asked me if I would be interested in doing this and I answered, “Yes, absolutely!” It was pretty much that easy.
What appealed to you about being in this film?
Even before reading the script, I was excited about it because Michael had told me the story and talked to me about the characters. It just seemed like the right movie for me. We had already developed a shorthand and he allowed me to develop my character. And then, as it’s a Michael Bay movie, it ends up looking even better than you’d imagined. He was the main attraction for me.
What impressed you the most about his direction?
Just to watch somebody manage a gigantic production like Transformers: Age of Extinction is pretty impressive…. And whether it’s a 30-day or 100-day shoot, he is always on top of every aspect of it.
You play the lead role of inventor Cade Yeager. Who is he?
He is a single dad who is devastated after losing his wife, and he is doing the best he can to raise his daughter. But Cade’s fascination with technology gets him into trouble when he discovers something. So he is an ordinary guy thrust into an extraordinary situation, where he has to become kind of larger-than-life to be able to protect his daughter.
What makes these films so different from other similar ones?
The difference is precisely that the audience can sense that those other films are a bit of an imitation of what Michael has done with Transformers. He just knows how to take these movies to a complete other level. And I thought that it would be a very interesting challenge for me as an actor; so it was also a bit of a risk for me.
The movie has action and a lot more….
Yes, there are all the huge effects and the action; but it also has a lot of humour and heart. I believe finding that balance between those elements will take it to another level.
After Ted and now this film, how comfortable are you interacting with characters that are not in front of you?
I feel confident when I know that Michael is running the show, because I know we are in good hands. You can find yourself feeling pretty silly having a heated conversation with a giant robot that isn’t really there, but he is going to make sure you don’t look ridiculous.
What can you say about Nicola Peltz, who plays your daughter in the film?
Nicola is fantastic! She is the older version of my own kids and just a pro. It’s demanding to work with Michael because he doesn’t have the luxury to sit there holding your hand. I remember this scene in which she was fighting these real Navy Seals, take after take, and Michael gave me a nod that meant he knew she had the goods.
The film is scheduled to release today.