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Michael Bay, An American Film director and Producer.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 View Comments

A graduate of Wesleyan University, Michael Bay spent his 20s working on advertisements and music videos. His first projects after film school were in the music video business. He created music videos for Tina Turner, Meat Loaf, Lionel Richie, Wilson Phillips, Donny Osmond and 'The DiVinyls'. His work won him recognition and a number of MTV award nominations. He also filmed advertisements for Nike, Reebok, Coca-Cola, Budweiser and Miller Lite. He won the Grand Prix Clio for Commercial of the Year for his "Got Milk/Aaron Burr" commercial. At Cannes, he has won the Gold Lion for The Best Beer campaign for Miller Lite, as well as the Silver for "Got Milk". In 1995 Bay was honored by the Directors Guild of America as Commercial Director of the Year. That same year he also directed his first feature film, Bad Boys (1995), starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, which grossed more than $160 million worldwide. His follow-up film, The Rock (1996), starring Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage, was also hugely successful, making Bay the director du jour.

Date of Birth
17 February 1965, Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth Name
His complete name is Michael Benjamin Bay
6' 2" (1.88 m)

IMDb Mini Biography

Trade Mark
Intense slow motion shots of characters

Films often feature a US President giving a major speech before a major action is to be committed.

Has the camera moving during most scenes. Very rarely uses static shots.

(2001) His last 3 films all share: a) two male leads at odds with another; b) a cataclysmic event as the narrative's fulcrumic point; c) the film's lead female character has i) been a long-haired brunette, and ii) watched the film's climax from a control room

Actors/characters in his films are almost uniformly shot in tight, emphatic close ups, framed under the hairline and above the chin.

Often uses lightflashes (i.e. lightbulbs and cameraflashes) to enhance scenes.

Often has over-the-top visuals (i.e. key events taking place at sunset or dramatic events taking place behind actors doing routine activities).

Utilizes monotonic but intense musical cues during action-filled car chase scenes. Bad Boys II (2003), The Island (2005)

Uses shots of aircraft against a setting sun, especially helicopters (Armageddon (1998/I), Pearl Harbor (2001), Transformers (2007)).

Often features a slow-motion shot of an object crashing into, or tumbling towards the camera.

Uses a shot where the camera spins in a circle around characters. (Bad Boys II, Transformers)

Frequently incorporates scenes that involve characters running or moving towards the camera (almost always shot in slow-motion)

Big explosions

Dated Playboy centerfold Jaime Bergman (45th Anniversary Playmate).

Educated at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design, CA.

Owns mastiff hounds named Mason and Grace, after characters in The Rock (1996) and Armageddon (1998/I).

"Movieline" revealed in 2001 that Bay's father is John Frankenheimer. Frankenheimer, who always denied paternity, took a DNA test in the 1980s which was negative. Bay still maintains Frankenheimer was his father, and has countered that DNA work was less sophisticated at the time.

Shot over 1 million feet of film for Pearl Harbor (2001). Used only about 20,000 feet for the final, 9-reel cut.

Was rejected by USC's film school.

In Bad Boys (1995), Bay paid $25,000 (one quarter of his fee) for the climax explosion scene. The initial shot was made impossible by a rainstorm, and the production company refused to pay for another try.

Member of Propaganda Films.

Actors have often noted that he places more importance on the visuals than on his characters and actors. He is also known to do very few takes of intimate character- driven scenes, as he prefers to spend more time on action sequences and visually- interesting moments.

Directed the music video for Richard Marx' hit "Angelia" in 1989.

All his films up to and including _Armageddon (1998)_ made him the youngest director to reach the billion dollar mark world wide.

Since the age of 26, Bay has won every major commercial directing award, including the Gold and Silver Lions at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

He won the Grand Prix Clio for Commercial of the Year for his "Got Milk/Aaron Burr" commercial, which also won him the Museum of Modern Art Award for Best Campaign of the Year.

Has worked with producer Jerry Bruckheimer on all of his films, except The Island (2005).

Filmed the movie _Armageddon (1998)_ with an eye towards Middle America. Has a love for Americana.

Is known for his high grossing action-packed movies.

All of his movies after Bad Boys (1995) have grossed more than $100 million, except The Island (2005), which flopped.

Studied under film historian Jeanine Basinger at Wesleyan University; Basinger later provided audio commentary, along with Bay, for the Pearl Harbor (2001) DVD.

As a teenager, he worked at ILM in the storyboard department for films like Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).

He is a very close friend of writer/director George Lucas from whom he often seeks advice.

He is a very good friend to Don Michael Paul and even lent him some aerial shots from The Rock (1996) to Paul's movie Half Past Dead (2002).

Ranked #47 on Premiere's 2005 Power 50 List. Had ranked #54 in 2004.

He shot the dynamic shots of the thrown dice in the gambling scenes for Adrian Lyne's Indecent Proposal (1993). He later "repossessed" the shots for a montage in Armageddon (1998/I).

President of The Institute for the Development of Enhanced Perceptual Awareness, a commercial and music video production company.

The Rock (1996) is his favorite of the films he has directed.

Sean Connery is his favorite actor that he's ever worked with.

Two films, _Armageddon (1998)_ and The Rock (1996), are in the Criterion Collection.

Uses a Mark V director's viewfinder while shooting a film. The viewfinder is often prominently featured in photographs of him, hung around his neck. It is engraved with his name and the names of every film he has directed.

Was offered the chance to direct Red Dragon (2002) but turned it down. Job went to Brett Ratner.

Has a mastiff hound named "Bonecrusher" after the character in Transformers.

Raised by parents Jim Bay and Harriet Bay, and sister Lisa Bay.

Turned down the offer to direct Van Helsing (2004) , opting to do The Island (2005) instead.

He occasionally makes cameo appearances in his films: in Bad Boys II (2003) he plays a guy driving a small beat-up old car which Martin Lawrence attempts to borrow, a NASA scientist in Armageddon (1998/I), and in Transformers (2007) he is the "disgusting" human that gets flicked away by Megatron.

Was offered the chance to direct Man on Fire (2004).

Was offer the opportunity to direct Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) but pulled out of the project due to scheduling conflicts.

Good friends with Ben Affleck.

Was considered to direct Superman Returns (2006).

Cousin of Leonard Nimoy.

Was adopted by his parents Jim and Harriet when he was two weeks old.

His Personal Quotes
A lot of directors don't want the pressure of a movie the size of 'Pearl Harbor (2001)'. But I love it. I thrive on it.

I love it when people get really mean and call you a 'hack'. It's like, don't they see how well these movies are doing? They make an impression around the world. I met this guy in Bali who lives in a hut with a TV, and he loved The Rock (1996). That means something, doesn't it?

Directing is not a job. It's more like a career. Which is great!

I make movies for teenage boys. Oh, dear, what a crime.

I know [critics] have [been tough on my movies]. And that's why I've taken Jerry Bruckheimer's advice: I don't read them, I really don't.

Quentin Tarantino called me once. Someone had written 'Is Michael Bay the Devil?' Quentin said, 'Don't worry, last year they called me the Antichrist.'

Lots of sci-fi movies are much ado about nothing. What I liked about [The Island (2005)] is that it's a universal thing: we all want to live longer. But how selfish would you be to achieve that? You could get a liver, a heart, kidneys, essential things. But I wanted to show people going for things that were just so crass, like fresh skin for a face-lift. For some woman who doesn't want to go through the pain of childbirth and have stretch marks, why not have your clone birth for you? How disgusting is that?

[About the kissing scene in The Island (2005)]: "I should re-shoot that scene right now. Two characters who have never even heard of sex are now trying it for the first time - you could have actually made it really funny and touching. I kept saying to [Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor], 'I want you to feel like you're kissing for the first time'. I don't know if you heard it, but when they're bouncing lips, they go 'Wow!' . . . "

I write my own action. There's a scene in The Island (2005) - a highway chase where a pile of train wheels fall off a truck and smashes into the oncoming cars. That thought came to me as I was driving next to a truck carrying rail wheels. My mind is very fertile, so I'm like, 'That's very dangerous!' I sent someone out to do research and found out those train wheels weigh a TON each . . .

His most offensive criticism: Roger Ebert on Pearl Harbor (2001). He commented on TV that bombs don't fall like that. Does he actually think we didn't research every nook and cranny of how armor-piercing bombs fell? He's watched too many movies. He thinks they all fall flat - armor-piercing bombs fall straight down, that's the way it was designed! But HE's on the air pontificating and giving the wrong information. That's insulting!

There are tons of people who hate me. They hate my movies and whatnot. But you know, hey, my films have made a lot of money around the world. 2-something billion dollars, that's a lot of tickets. They said that I wrecked cinema. They said that my, uh...cutting style. They say I cut too fast. And yet now you see it in movies everywhere. Do I take pride in people knowing my style? I think it's nice people know a director has a style. And you can reinvent yourself too.

[on "Transformers"] Well, it's just, you know, listen, it's like...I didn't want to make the boxy characters, you know? Think about it, 30 feet in the air in the real world, just boxes, you know and it'd just look more fake, you know? And by adding more doo-dads, you know, stuff on the...stuff. Stuff on the robots, more car parts, know you can just make it look more real.

I'm one of the few directors - it seems like a dying art - that actually shoot a lot in the camera.
He also played as Driver in "Bad Boys 2" !!! :)

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