The Michael Bay Oral History: Bonus Outtake #2 — Frances McDormand’s Letter To GQ

Dear GQ,

Firstly, Michael Bay owes me a beer.  I think he’s a shit for not buying and I want it to be made public that he should make good on that debt.

But.  I can’t pass up the opportunity to answer questions about the guy.  I know how this goes, though, and my answers won’t be half as interesting to your readership at GQ as they would be to mine at World of Interiors.  So. Here goes. I will answer them the way I want to.

I wanted to be in Transformers 3 because I have seen all the previous iterations with my son, who is now sixteen. He was originally interested in me doing it because of the toys, cars and explosions. By the time it is released, he will be much more interested in Rosie’s character. Or Rosie. If, he gets lucky enough to meet her. This, I would imagine, is not unlike, most of your adult male readership.  So that is my answer to most of your questions.  

Bay has a mainline to the testosterone glands of the American male.  Unlike in my day, when the pin ups were all-American girls that liked to be naked, porn magazines now varnish and wax their female models like cars. The objectification of both sell action films, obviously.  It was fascinating to watch the disciplined Navy Seals on the set respond to the stimuli all around.  Whether it be “artillery” blasts or tightly clad young females, the glands were a-pumpin’.

 I, too, felt a definitive thrill when Optimus Prime, in his semi-trailer truck mode, rolled into the airplane hanger where were shooting.  With his perfect East LA low-rider detailing, he was a sexy sight to behold and commanded my attention in a way most of my male costars in the past can only hope for.  I must admit, I flirted with him shamelessly.  I was also asked to run while “under fire” by the Decepticons.  No one asked me to do so, but I found myself SPRINTING full out for at least seven takes.  I am 53 and only modestly fit.  I can walk 8 miles straight but, sprint?  Never.  That is the power of a Michael Bay set.  I have a photo from that day and will mount it on my wall, proudly, like a wild beast head brought back from the time of The Raj.

Michael is NOT a fuzzy warm guy on a set.  (Though I do believe he had a mad crush on me from beginning to end.).  I don’t necessarily trust those kind of directors anyway.  Film is not an actors’ or directors’ medium, as far as I’m concerned. It’s an editors’ medium and I trust a director who gives me some indication that they know how the final product will be arranged.  Bay certainly gave me this impression.  Whether it turns out anywhere near what that was four months ago is anyone’s guess!

I also showed up because of my dear and old friend from drama school, Turturro.  I knew that we were doing scenes together and, though he upstaged me mercilessly, I adored working with him.

Do with this what you will.  But if you get snarky and make me sound stupid, I’ll hunt you down and run you over with my Audi station wagon.  Or make you sprint seven times in a row.

Frances Louise McDormand

Earlier this week, we posted the bits about What Really Happened With Megan Fox. The full-length version is on sale now in the July 2011 print edition. On Monday, we’ll be publishing a 7000-word extended cut of the oral history at And still: there were bits of gold-dusted oral-history anecdotery that we couldn’t fit anywhere else, so we’re posting them here, one at a time, on the GQ Tumblr. Yesterday: how Bay met Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Today: McDormand’s marvelous letter to GQ’s Sean Fennessey (the fearless captain of this project) about her Transformers boss.