Once upon a time, there was a stunning, full-lipped beauty named Megan Fox who became a sex symbol after being cast in a pair of incredibly loud blockbusters about robots.
Those two blockbusters were the first two “Transformers” movies , which led to a third — “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” coming next week to almost every theater near you — that was supposed to feature Fox again. But then she said some not-so-nice things about director Michael Bay in an interview; specifically, she said that “he wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is.” And suddenly, last year, she wasn’t on board for “Dark of the Moon” anymore; model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley — another stunning, full-lipped beauty — was cast instead.
A Deadline report at the time said that Bay was responsible for firing the actress. But now Bay says that his executive producer, Steven Spielberg, played a key role in issuing the pink slip.
“You know, the Hitler thing,” Bay reportedly said. “Steven said, fire her right now.” (Note: Bay’s statements and other commentary on the Fox dismissal were pulled from an GQ article, to be published in the July issue of the magazine.)
One can understand why Spielberg might be sensitive to inappropriate comparisons to Adolf Hitler. And clearly Fox was not wise to speak ill of her boss in the press. Most people would lose their jobs if they did the same thing.
Still, is this as black and white as all that?
Specifically, there’s something about the comments that “Transformers” star Shia LaBeouf recently made about this whole admittedly unimportant affair that still bugs me a little.
To recap what LaBeouf told the L.A. Times, and we reported in a recent morning mix: “Mike films women in a way that appeals to a 16-year-old sexuality. It’s summer. It’s Michael’s style. And I think [Fox] never got comfortable with it. This is a girl who was taken from complete obscurity and placed in a sex-driven role in front of the whole world and told she was the sexiest woman in America. And she had a hard time accepting it. When Mike would ask her to do specific things, there was no time for fluffy talk. We’re on the run. And the one thing Mike lacks is tact. There’s no time for [LaBeouf assumes a gentle voice] ‘I would like you to just arch your back 70 degrees.’”
The subtext of that explanation is that Bay was asking Fox to play up her sexuality in a way that she — someone who was brand new to Hollywood, as LaBeouf notes — was not comfortable with. And that, perhaps, led to her negative attitude toward Bay, which was communicated via inappropriate interview comments. The comments are inexcusable. But being “tactless” to actresses who have clearly been hired so they can be used as sex objects is not exactly excusable either.
So what’s my point? That Fox deserved to be fired, but that the circumstances that appear to have led to her firing may not have been entirely her fault.
Of course, by next Wednesday, when “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” finally comes out, no one will care about any of this anymore. We’ll all once again be talking about those big, booming robots, Michael Bay’s explosion-heavy directing style and that gorgeous Rosie Huntington-Whitely, who just might have a bright future ahead of her, as long as she continues to look pretty and keep her mouth shut.