For a while on my blog, I had the pleasure of highlighting various men who were espousing impressive feminist rhetoric in the Hollywood landscape. Today, I do not have that pleasure. Actor Shia LeBeouf, who worked on the Michael Bay franchise, Transformers, with Megan Fox, spoke to L. A. Times about how the vibe on the set of the newest Transformers is different and why. The reason is because Megan's replacement, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, doesn't have a problem with Michael Bay being a total douchebag.
This is the quote:
First of all, it's hilariously stupid that Shia equates feminist thinking with the Spice Girls. It's a braindead and belittling comparison. Second of all, where it says "woman-empowerment [stuff]," I'm guessing the magazine redacted a more offending word -- shit or bullshit. I wish they hadn't, because it would have been a more honest reflection of Shia's true feelings.
Huntington-Whiteley is equipped for Bay’s brusque shooting style in a way that Fox (who in the media likened her director’s on-set behavior to Napoleon and Hitler) was not, according to LaBeouf.
“Megan developed this Spice Girl strength, this woman-empowerment [stuff] that made her feel awkward about her involvement with Michael, who some people think is a very lascivious filmmaker, the way he films women,” LaBeouf said. “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.’”
Huntington-Whiteley, on the other hand, must have arched her back just right when Bay shot her in a Victoria’s Secret ad in 2009, because months after Fox’s trash-talking peaked, the director cut the actress’ character, Mikaela Banes, from the third Transformers movie and replaced her with the newcomer.
“Rosie comes with this Victoria’s Secret background, and she’s comfortable with it, so she can get down with Mike’s way of working and it makes the whole set vibe very different,” LaBeouf said.
It's surprising that Fox never trashed him too, given his apparent contempt for the concept of female empowerment. "It's summer. It's Michael Bay's style." So...during the summer and when around Michael Bay women should just throw out their copies of The Feminine Mystique and do their best pouty lip? You can have a sexy character without being degrading to the actress. I'm guessing the vibe on Jennifer's Body and Jonah Hex, both films where Fox plays a sexy vixen, was pretty different too, different in that she wasn't treated like another slice of ham on the directors Lazy Susan.
Where Shia says there is no time for "fluff" and Bay "lacks tact," what he probably means is, Bay says things like, "Megan, in this scene I want you to stick your tits and ass out," then she would get pissed off, tension would arise on the set, and everyone would blame Fox. That's my guess. While I'm sure that type of "direction" wasn't written into the script, she must have had an inkling of Bay's "lasciviousness."
It's been reported far and wide and openly admitted to that Michael Bay made Megan Fox wash his Ferrari in her bikini while he video taped her as part of her "audition." That's not great for Fox, but big money and big career opportunities don't come around often. This is what makes Hollywood a complicated place for some women. Where do you draw the line? Obviously, Megan Fox had enough. But that's rarely the way it's framed in media.
This article is claiming that Megan Fox was "cut" from the film because she "trash-talked" her boss. It sounds more to me like Megan Fox walked away from Transformers because she was sick of her sexist boss. Most media outlets want to frame her situation in a way that makes it look like "see what happens little girls when you back talk". When in reality, she spoke out against a man known for offending the women he works with and basically for being a sleazy, power-happy misogynist.
Would it be a stretch to call Megan Fox a trailblazer? She really took a beating from the media, who's response to her unabashed honesty was to call her dumb and difficult.
Megan Fox deserves props if she really walked away from Transformers, and I respect her for speaking out about her boss, although, I think publicly trashing people who you plan to keep relationships with (your boss) is not the best approach. If she had worded it more carefully in interviews, it could have had a very different impact. For instance, she could have talked about the dynamic between playing a sexy character and how her director takes liberties with her because of that. And how it's complicated to be a pin up girl, but to also want to be treated like a full human...or something along those lines. But there is no play book on "How To Deal With a Sexist Boss While Working in the Public Eye."
She has, however, expressed ideas similar to this that rarely get reported on. One of my favorites is when she was discussing sexism in Hollywood,
"I've worked with people who have been difficult to work with, but have been male, and there is never a complaint made about them. There is never an issue made about them. I have friends who are actresses, who if they go to work one day and they show up on set and they don't have a smile on their face they're tagged a bitch and that is really unfortunate. But I can't single-handedly change that process, but I'm trying."With that said, Megan Fox is in a upcoming movie called Friends With Kids staring Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig! I can't wait.