She swapped Transformers for Mutant Ninja Turtles. Now Megan Fox is sounding off again. Film Critic Tony Earnshaw reports.
Poor Megan Fox. Plucked from obscurity to star in Transformers, which was to become one of the biggest franchises in cinema history, she then found herself summarily ejected by no less than executive producer Steven Spielberg.
Why? She compared director Michael Bay to Hitler. Spielberg, a liberal Jew who set up the Shoah foundation to document survivors’ experiences of the Holocaust, found that analogy a little hard to stomach.
Having bitten the hand that fed her it would be safe to assume that 28-year-old Fox would have learned to watch her tongue. Except, of course, real life isn’t like that.
As the lead in the remake of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – she is a self-confessed fan of the originals – Fox was asked if changes made by the writers were crushing the dreams of kids who grew up on the TV show and movies. Her response was relayed around the world.
“Let me tell you something about those people,” she said, referring to cinemagoers. “How much money did Transformers 4 make? Those people who complain, they all go to the theatre, they all see his movies. They’re gonna love it and if they don’t love it they can **** off, and that’s the answer.”
There are those who like the outspokenness and brash sexuality of this Tennessee lass. In Hollywood, however, where being a maverick is only acceptable if some element of conformity is adhered to, being mouthy is decidedly unattractive.
Which puts Fox perilously close to being box office poison. Having been booted off Transformers she has drifted around seeking a new opportunity. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was the one she chose as something akin to a comeback vehicle.
Alas in the world of the superhero foil-cum-love interest, as April O’Neil, she’s no Lois Lane. In fact as the object of affection for cameraman colleague Vern (Will Arnett) and clunky Michaelangelo, the turtle who declares his love for April, she fobs off any sense of romance.
What’s more, director Jonathan Liebesman worked hard to de-sexualise April. Did Fox take the job as some form of antidote to the constant midriff flashing of Transformers? “I don’t feel ashamed or like I can’t be taken seriously wearing a tank top. I really campaigned to get this because I was a fan. I was afraid at the same time because you don’t wanna ruin something that you loved and be a part of its downfall. So of course I was terrified of letting people down but I had to do it because it was iconic to me as a kid. I just feel lucky to have gotten the opportunity.”
Having upset Spielberg, Fox is lucky to get a second chance. Still, the model-turned-actress appears to lack a sense of self-censorship.
One crew member on Transformers ungallantly called her “dumb as a rock”. Liebesman on Turtles was more complimentary, describing her as “much smarter than people give her credit for”.
Has she learned the lessons of the past to know what to give and what to hold back? “I clearly haven’t learned that lesson yet,” she smiles. “I like to be honest. I don’t like being disingenuous it’s really uncomfortable for me. I’ve also learned that much of what I say gets sensationalised. So you guys should all behave yourselves and be nice when you report on things that I say.”
• Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is on nationwide release.