The youngest director ever to hit the $1 billion sales mark, Michael Bay has proved to be one of the most bankable helmers in Hollywood with dough-making juggernauts such as "The Rock", "Armageddon", and "Pearl Harbor" under his belt. His latest film is "Bad Boys II", the sequel to his 1995 buddy cop movie hit.
Eight years on, how easy was it to return to "Bad Boys"?
It was pretty easy. Martin and Will seemed like the same guys. It felt pretty much the same, more pressure, and more money at stake. I thought it was going to be a small comedy, but it turned out to be much larger and more complicated than expected. I write my own action scenes and they just kept... expanding!
You have something of a reputation for going over the top...
We didn't have a lot of money to make this movie. We had less than "Gone in 60 Seconds" had. It was tough. I had to shoot really fast. But some things went our way: that house we blew up belonged to the Coca-Cola heirs. They didn't like it and they were going to tear it down anyway, so we got to blow that up for free. But that's action movies for you. I'm going in different directions now.
So was this your action swansong?
Yeah, it's my over-the-top action, more-violent-than-it-should-be movie. But we were up against "Hulk" and "The Matrix Reloaded". What would you do? You know these movies are coming out. Things just have to get bigger.
How much attention do you pay to the critics?
Ridley Scott has got a good saying: "They want purple, but you like red. So f*** it, I'm going to make red." I don't care what they say. I'm not making my movies for the critics. I've sold a billion-and-a-half dollars worth of movie tickets for five movies all over the world. So somebody must be liking these movies. You know, I had lunch with a very successful LA Times critic and he said: "Mike, you know what? We're going to hate you until you do something small."
What would a 'small' Michael Bay movie look like?
I've got this small character film that I'm working on right now that I'd really like to do - if I can find the right cast. You know, I'm really in the mode to reinvent myself and find different kinds of material. I love all sorts of movies. I've stayed in this one area and now it's time to branch out.
Will you be doing a costume drama, then?
I don't know. I'd love to do something old school like that. Maybe one day.