While the “Transformers” films feature epic, explosive action involving robotic aliens from beyond our solar system, actor Josh Duhamel, who plays Lt. Colonel William Lennox, aims to keep his part as grounded as possible, given the circumstances.
“I think in a movie like this, when you’re dealing with something as far out as alien robots from outer space that turn into vehicles and cars, it’s such a far-fetched idea that you have to, especially in my case, playing the leader of this military team, to play it as real as we can,” Duhamel said in a phone interview promoting the film. “And as accurate and tactical as the military would.”
Duhamel said he works with former Navy SEALs and Army Rangers on the “Transformers” films, and he doesn’t want to let them down with his portrayal.
“My personal goal in this movie was to make the guys around me proud,” Duhamel said. “I held a gun right, I shot it right, I changed magazines right and led the team the way it’s supposed to be led — because I’ve become good friends with these guys over the years. So … it is important that I portray the military in the best light possible.”
The third “Transformers” film, “Dark of the Moon,” is set for release this week. Like the first two films in the franchise, it is directed by Michael Bay and stars Shia LaBeouf. It’s based on the toy line from Hasbro. That pre-existing audience helped the “Transformers” films gain traction, Duhamel said.
“There was already a built-in sort of following for the Transformers,” he said. “I was part of the generation that watched these cartoons growing up and played with the toys … but it was also the vision that Michael Bay and his team had to reinvent the genre.”
Despite being familiar with the cartoon and toys, Duhamel wasn’t initially sure that the “Transformers” concept would make for a successful big-budget film.
“I remember when I first met with him on it, I was meeting his producing partners on another movie, and he came in and told me about this movie he was doing called ‘Transformers.’ I was like ‘Wait, Transformers? Like the cartoon from the ’80s? That sounds like the worst idea ever.’ I didn’t tell him that, but I remember I was thinking it,” Duhamel said. “And a few months later he had me come in to look at some of the artwork that they were doing, and I was like, ‘Oh, OK, now I get it. They’ve completely reinvented it and made it better.’”
He said those elements, combined with a solid group of actors and special-effects animators, led to the success of “Transformers.”
“The combination of having a following already, reinventing it in a way that makes it better, and then you have guys like Shia, and you have the direction of Michael Bay, and those guys at ILM that make these robots feel real, is the reason these movies work,” he said.
- By Matthew Price
From Sunday’s The Oklahoman