SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA
I took a drive up the coast to meet legendary film director MICHAEL BAY at the Santa Barbara Roasting Company for a cup of joe and a candid chat on what makes Mike tick.
And he showed up an hour before I did. Uh-oh.
So he’s already at the table, wearing flip-flops and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cap, and sucking down his third large French Roast. Black. He assured me it was alright and we got down to business.
O’MALLEY: Nice place. I love the line.
MICHAEL BAY: Lines mean business. And this is the best coffee in Santa Barbara.
Q: So how’s moviemaking, Mike?
BAY: It’s good. We’re doing real good. Working on a slate of films out this fall that are probably gonna blow some serious mind, or heart, or whatever.
Q: Either way, they’re gonna blow.
BAY: Well —
Q: — So what’s all the hubbub on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? It was recently “shelved” until 2014 after you announced that you’d be changing the turtles’ origin from homegrown Earthlings to space aliens. Why the static?
BAY: You know, I understand the fans getting upset. They’re mommy-loving ass-nerds. And as we all know, mommy-loving ass-nerds don’t get poontang very often. So that makes them uptight. And I can respect that.
Q: So say we all.
BAY: Right. I mean, the title is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; not Earthling Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Who Have To Be From Earth and Want To Make Every Mommy-Loving Ass-Nerd Happy, right? Can I get an amen?
Q: Amen. Fuck those ass-nerds! Jocks rule!
BAY: Jocks rule!!!!!
Q: So why bump the movie down the road to 2014?
BAY: (leans forward) Can you keep a secret?
Q: Of course. I have a blog.
BAY: We’re giving them laser nipples.
Q: Laser nipples.
BAY: And big ole titties.
BAY: Laser nipples, smack dab in the middle of some big honkin turtle titties.
Q: But won’t that make them female?
BAY: Do nipples make YOU female?
Q: I suppose you’re right.
BAY: Suppose that shit all the way to the BANK, motherfucker.
Q: So bumping the production back two years…
BAY: Gives us time to perfect the laser nipples. And gives me time to buy the rights to Gone With The Wind from the Margaret Mitchell estate, and then merge Scarlet and Rhett’s story into that of the turtles. The two canons like that coming together is something that’s never been experienced by a cinema audience. Ever. We’re removing all the black people from the south, however. Way too controversial. Replacing them with happy animated sea creatures that sing negro spirituals and serve the Ninja Turtles food, wash their clothes, do hard farm labor, etc. It’s not so much Ninja Turtles as it’s a real, honest-to-goodness American homily about idyllic life under the sea in the antebellum South.
Q: I smell a winner.
BAY: And fuck 3D. This flick is gonna be in Michael Bay-D.
Q: “Michael Bay D?” Is that like 3-D?
BAY: Oh, man… You’re out of the loop! Anyway, this is so exciting. Get this: Me and Tim Burton are getting together and reimagining the entire 3D industry. From scratch. It’s gonna turn moviemaking on its head, completely.
Q: Sounds intense, Mike!
BAY: See, current 3D technology requires you to shoot and finish the film a certain way, then also requires the audience member to wear these big 3D glasses, right?
BAY: Well, with Michael Bay-D, it’s a lot different. And a lot easier. And A LOT more exciting. Here’s how it works… Me and Tim Burton just go ahead and shoot a movie like we would ordinarily shoot a movie…
BAY: Then, the audience comes in and experiences the film, and then walks away feeling completely deflated, ripped off, and disappointed at the amount of money we spent on these films, relative to the amount of human or artistic or cultural contribution the films actually provide. Or, in Tim’s case, they walk away thinking “That weepy, self-repeating douchebasket should just stick to production design.”
Q: And you don’t even need glasses.
BAY: And you don’t even need glasses.