Director Michael Bay gets Hollywood star

Movie producer Michael Bay's career has earned him almost $8.2 billion.
Movie producer Michael Bay's career has earned him almost $8.2 billion.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES • He is not in the critics' good books, but Michael Bay last week cemented his standing among the ranks of Hollywood's greatest.

The movie producer sank his hands and feet into the forecourt of Hollywood's TCL Chinese Theatre as he was honoured for a money- spinning movie career that has netted almost US$6 billion (S$8.2 billion).

The 52-year-old Los Angeles native is known for directing some of history's biggest effects-laden blockbusters - from Bad Boys (1995) and Armageddon (1998) to Pearl Harbor (2001) and the Transformers franchise (2007-2014).

"It brings back your childhood because I remember, as a kid, I came here. And this is where I went to the movies with my parents. This was the place where I saw Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981), when I decided I want to become a director," he said.

Bay, who calls Miami home, worked as an intern for George Lucas' special effects company, Industrial Light & Magic, before kick-starting his directing career with commercials and music videos for singers Tina Turner, Lionel Richie and Meat Loaf.

His first feature film - Bad Boys, starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence - marked the beginning of a string of collaborations between Bay and veteran producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

"It's bizarre, as a kid, to think this was always untouchable to me, you know," he said of being honoured by Hollywood. "You don't ever think that's possible, so it's kind of a bizarre thing having your hands printed here."

Known for high-octane action, Bay's movies have made US$5.8 billion, allowing him to indulge a passion for aviation and motoring, according to Rolling Stone magazine.

His toys include a US$50-million Gulfstream jet as well as a fleet of luxury and sports cars.

Yet his commercial success has not protected him from the barbs of critics that accompany each new release. He has, in the past, been accused of "pummelling audiences into submission" rather than entertaining them.

Mark Kermode, the British film critic who came up with the phrase, wrote in a one-star review of Transformers: Age Of Extinction in 2014 that it had all the director's hallmarks - from its ludicrous plot to incoherent action to "endless leering shots of the leading lady's butt".

Bay, who directed all five instalments of the smash-hit Transformers franchise - about huge robots that turn into cars and hit one another - said he never reads his critics' reports.

"They can say whatever they want. It's all about the fans. I think it's a real epic movie," Bay said at a preview of Age Of Extinction in Miami.

Bay's fifth instalment, Transformers: The Last Knight, is scheduled for release on June 21.

An untitled sixth movie is due a year later, although a director has not been announced.

And Bay will likely once again have to keep the critics at bay.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2017, with the headline 'Director Michael Bay gets Hollywood star'. Print Edition | Subscribe