Self-Absorbed Director Plans To Stomp All Over Movie History
Los Angeles (AP) Director Michael Bay, the demented pyrotechnic fan behind films like Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, and the Transformers franchise, announced a new film initiative this weekend to waiting reporters. Bay, who is presently filming a rebooted Gone With The Wind, is known for high octane action thrillers that overwhelm the senses with repetitive explosions, little regard for logic, and no emphasis on characterization. He also has a reputation for being pretty full of himself.
Reporters were gathered at Digital Domain, one of the production companies run by Bay. A spokesperson for the company assured those gathered in the auditorium that Bay would be arriving shortly. “He wants to look his best for the camera,” Digital Domain official Serena White told the assembled reporters. “He has very exacting standards, I’m sure you understand.”
This reporter, doomed to cover the press conference after inadvertently laughing during the funeral of his editor’s cousin, rolled his eyes. No doubt Bay simply couldn’t tear himself away from the mirror. It has been said that the one great love of Michael Bay’s life is his reflection in any mirror.
Finally Bay emerged onto the stage, grinning like a man who’s been hit on the head too many times by a football. It has long been the opinion of many a reporter that there’s not much activity going on inside his head. As usual, he had a two days stubble growth on his face.“Good morning!” he called in greeting after one final glance in a small mirror, replacing it in his jacket.
“It’s five thirty in the afternoon,” a Reuters correspondent told him.
“It is? Wow, time flies when you’re gazing in the mirror,” Bay said, flashing another grin. “Well, it’s morning somewhere in the world. Welcome to Digital Domain, and welcome to the big announcement. I’m sure you’ll all be pleased and ecstatic when I tell you what I’ve come to say.”
“Have you decided to retire and never make another film project again?” this reporter asked.
“Oh, that’s funny!” Bay said with a laugh, apparently not grasping the seriousness of the question. “Come now, the world needs Michael Bay films. They need to bask in the magnificence and glory that is me. They need to root for the heroes in my story. They need to laugh with the smart dialogue. They need to see the scantily clad young heroine polishing a car while the soundtrack plays a guitar riff. They need to see explosion after explosion after explosion. I can’t retire. My services to humanity are far too important. I am, after all, the greatest film director of all time. Am I right or am I right?” He looked out over the crowd of reporters, none of whom responded. They were too busy rolling their eyes and sighing in dismay, no doubt wondering what terrible thing they had done to merit being subjected to a Michael Bay press conference.
“Look, it’s all very simple,” Bay went on. “I am in the midst of directing my all star Gone With The Wind remake. It got me thinking. Why not reboot another classic of the silver screen? So my next project, ladies and gentlemen, the next big film that will secure me plenty of Oscars... is Casablanca.”
The crowd of reporters fell absolutely silent. Bay looked around at everyone, the same stupid grin on his face, oblivious to the appalled thoughts of the journalists at hand. “You want to remake the Bogart and Bergman film?” the Reuters correspondent asked.
“Yes, absolutely!” Bay insisted. “Not only remake it, but make it a thousand times better!” He laughed. “You see, there’s too much talking in that film, not enough explosions. I mean, really, it’s the Second World War, right? So we’re going to change all that by injecting some life into the story. And by life I mean pyrotechnic fireworks and explosions and death. Take, for instance, that whole ending in the original film. Rick shoots Major Strasser, and Strasser just falls down and dies. I mean, come on. Wouldn’t it be better if Strasser was smoking, stumbled away, fell into a whole pit full of explosives, TNT, dynamite, and that sort of thing, and the lit cigarette set everything off? The way I’m planning the scene, it’ll be a big enough explosion that Winston Churchill could see the smoke in London. That’s going to be typical of my version of Casablanca. Why not feature the whole city getting blown sky high? It makes for really good explosion scenes, and you have to have good explosions in a movie. And while we’re at it, I’m really not comfortable having that French anthem being played in the big scene as you see it in the movie. That’s just not going to play well in America. The audiences will hear that and wonder why a godless socialist song like La Marseillaise has to be sung. So I’m just going to have everyone sing The Star Spangled Banner.”
This reporter looked at his colleagues, all of whom had the same expression of horror on their faces. Bay continued. “Without further ado, let me introduce you to our cast. First, playing Rick Blaine, you know him as a frequent collaborator of mine on screen...” There was a collective gasp among the reporters. Surely Bay could not have chosen him to step into the shoes of Rick Blaine. “....I give you Shia LaBeouf!”
The collective gasp echoed. Some of this reporter’s colleagues were throwing up in the aisles. LaBeouf stepped out in stage, looking dazed and confused. It is, after all, a common expression for him. “Hi there!” he called out. “It’ll be a real pleasure playing this character, and showing up that Bogart moron for the bad actor that he is.” He stood with Bay, both of them grinning like idiots. This reporter contemplated alerting the Bogart estate that their illustrious forefather was being dragged through the mud.
“And where Shia goes, Megan must follow!” Bay declared. Megan Fox stepped out on the stage, smiling and showing off her cleavage. “Playing Ilsa Lund, I give you Megan Fox!”
“It’s an honour!” Fox told everyone.
“You have got to be joking!” another reporter blurted out.
“Of course I’m not,” Bay declared. “Why do people keep thinking that about everything I do? Now, the next cast member is pivotal. He’s been nominated for Oscars, and I’m confident this time he’ll win, and he’ll help us win the Oscars in a huge sweep too. Playing Victor Laszlo in my new film, I give you... Leonardo DiCaprio!”
DiCaprio stepped out on stage, waving to the reporters. There was another gasp. Why would DiCaprio work with someone as foolish as Michael Bay? “It’s a pleasure,” he told the reporters. “Michael tells me this is the role that is going to win me that long overdue Oscar. Now, I’ll admit, I’ve never actually seen the original Casablanca, but seeing that Victor gets the girl and the happy ending, that makes Victor the main character, right?”
This reporter asked, “Why are you doing this, Leo?”
“Because I really, really, really want that Oscar.”
“Yes, we know that, but you’re not going to get it with him as a director,” the Reuters correspondent remarked. “And seriously... what kind of person has never watched Casablanca?”
“I’ll remind you that you said that when I’m accepting Best Actor,” DiCaprio promised.
This reporter sighed, all too aware that Victor Laszlo is not the main character in the film. Bay continued as his three actors stood together. “And we’ve got other parts cast as well for the big film. Playing Captain Louis Renault will be one of my favourite all around actors, ladies and gentlemen, give a big hand to Nicolas Cage!”
Cage stepped out on stage, waving. “Great to see you! Oh, this is the role I was born to play, daddy-o. With the paycheck I’ll be getting from this, I can go back to burning my way through money by buying things I don’t actually need.”
This reporter wondered how much worse this could get. “And playing the part of Sam the piano player... you know him best while he’s crossdressing as his signature Madea role, Mr. Tyler Perry!” Bay boasted.
Another collective gasp of horror. Perry stepped out on stage. “Nice to be here, Hollywood! I’m going to put my own take on this guy. I really don’t think Dooley Wilson gave a good performance. Sam was stale in that first version, so I’m here to shake things up in a big way!”
This reporter looked at his colleagues. Right about now would be a good time for an earthquake to turn up and swallow everyone on stage into the depths of the earth. “And we have three more actors to reveal for you today. Major Strasser, Signor Ferrari, and Signor Ugarte were played by Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, and Peter Lorre in the original film. I can do these characters better by casting the right people in the roles. So I give you, as Strasser, The Rock! As Ferrari, Jon Voight! And as Ugarte, Steve Buscemi! Give them all a big hand!” The three actors stepped out on stage. The Rock arched his eyebrows.
“I just want to say I’m sorry,” Buscemi said. “I signed a contract back in the day that I have to do nine films with him, and he insisted this had to be one of them. I’m really sorry for this desecration of movie history.”
Bay laughed. “Oh, Steve, that’s so funny! You just crack me up!”
“Actually, I was being serious,” Buscemi told him.
Bay seemed oblivious. “Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the main cast of Casablanca! We’re gonna be kicking it in high gear once I’m done with the Gone With The Wind reboot. And I’m gonna win so many Oscars for it by the time we’re all said and done. Because I deserve plenty of Oscars. Is that perfectly clear? Plenty of Oscars.”
This reporter spoke up. “Mr. Bay, I would point out that The Rock is not, well, ethnically German. It’s highly doubtful that someone of his background could play a part of an officer in a society run by white supremacists.”
“Oh, that’s just silly!” Bay insisted. “Those are just trivial notions, and my audiences don’t care about that sort of thing. They care about rock music underscore, and explosions, and hot babes, and more explosions...”
“Mr. Bay!” the Reuters correspondent said forcefully. “Has Warner Brothers signed off on this?They do take responsibility for the well being of the original film very seriously.”
Bay shrugged. “Oh, we’ll work that out with them later on. I’m sure it’ll all be fine. All any studio cares about is making plenty of money.”
This reporter, disgusted by the entire press conference, spoke again. “Mr. Bay, what would you say to someone who feels that you are stomping on a true cinematic classic by trying to remake it? What would you say to someone who feels that you are a complete and total hack whose films are nothing more than cinematic emptiness?”
“I’d say they’re all jealous of true genius.” Bay smiled. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got an appointment with a tanning bed. It takes a lot of care to look as smashing as I do, you know. Look for Casablanca to be burning up the silver screen in a huge way come 2017. Lots of explosions, lots of hot babes, lots of sizzling sex. Play it again and again and again, Sam!”
Bay strode off stage, followed by his cast. The reporters were left behind to talk amongst themselves. Our common feeling was that at this very moment, Bogart and Bergman were rolling over in their graves.