Don Murphy On Set Interview - Transformers
Written by Robert Sanchez
Wednesday, 21 February 2007
Producer Don Murphy on the set of the live action Transformers feature film due out July 4th 2007.
Q: At what point did the technology get to where you felt that you could do this as a viable project?
Murphy: The answer I think would be that it's still becoming viable, I believe, as we're going along. I think that’s when Tom DeSanto and I first envisioned this two and a half years ago we saw that there were so many leaps and bounds, and you've probably seen the Citron commercial and all these other sort of viral online and Transformer type things that we knew it was headed that way. Since we started this project, since Michael [Bay] has come onto the project, I'd say in the last year really the technology has kind of caught up to it. Once you see what ILM is doing you'll actually believe that your car is a robot. You'll be pretty excited.
Q: Can you talk about the scene that they're shooting outside today?
Murphy: This scene today, and well, I don't want to give too much away about the story, but the scene today is partof the conclusion of the movie. I don't know if anyone has described the basic structure of the movie, but it's very much like one of those big epic disaster movies where you have five different threads and today is a sequence where almost all of the threads now, the Josh Duhamel and the Shia LeBeouf and the Tyrese [Gibson] – all of the threads are converging as we're getting towards the very final confrontation, the final battle between the Decepticons and the Autobots.
Q: When you talked to the military about advising on this movie did they have any worries about the script or the story?
Murphy: I can't take credit for talking to the military. Michael has a relationship with the military. He and [Ian] Bryce, the line producer, has been talking to the military and from what I know they just had the usual military concerns which were not portraying the military in a negative light. It's really that simple and they've approved the script and have been excited about the project since we started shooting. The first week we shot on Airforce bases.
Q: Have they provided equipment, planes and all of that stuff?
Murphy: Very much so, great access, but again, that's a better question for Michael or if you get a chance to meet the line producer. They have provided the F-22. They have been very helpful in providing us access to everything.
Q: Can you talk about the genesis of this project and sort of finally getting it made?
Murphy: Project started almost haphazardly at the beginning. I had been in conversation with Hasbro to do 'GI Joe' actually, and Sony was interested in doing it. Then we invaded Iraq and it became kind of clear that doing a movie called 'GI Joe' was probably not the smartest idea at that point. The lady who is no longer there, a woman named Carol Monroe, who was in charge of Hasbro Films suggested 'Transformers.' Again, like this question here, I wasn't so sure what the technology would support for something like that. At that exact same time, to be honest I'm probably five years too old to have grown up with 'Transformers,' but I knew from previous conversations that Tom DeSanto who had been instrumental in 'The X-Men' movies had always wanted to do it. So Tom and I partnered up and we approached every single studio in town about doing a big epic large budget live action 'Transformers' movie. It's actually like a bad thing, but what we did because we could was that we pitched the head of every studio. Therefore we garnered absolute passes across the board. We looked at each other going, 'Oh my God, we've been to Comic-Con. We've seen that the '80's are back. We've seen that this is something that has such a built in fan base and yet every studio, even production companies and financial companies like Spy Glass, they've all passed on this. Did we do something wrong?' And about a week or two before we tried to figure out what we were going to do it started to trickle down to the younger executives in each of those companies and so you'd have like a studio boss come in and say as a part of his regular Tuesday morning meeting, 'By the way, I heard about "Transformers," but we're passing.' And the younger guys were like, 'Whoa, whoa, wait, wait! What are you doing? Huh?' So you ended up in a situation where after two weeks of nothing, but passes we ended up with DreamWorks, New Line, Paramount, New Regency, and I'm skipping one there, but four or five companies all of whom wanted to try and get in on the idea, and thus this ended up being a sort of Paramount/DreamWorks co-venture. This was before Paramount even bought DreamWorks. It was always a co-venture.( This was a lengthy article, so feel free to read more behind this cut.Collapse )