When acclaimed director Michael Bay was asked to take part in the "Crash the Super Bowl" program, his first reaction was pretty simple:
"This is bogus," Bay said.
In the program, Doritos is asking people to create homemade ads for the chip company, and the best ad will appear during the Super Bowl in February. The winner of the contest will help Bay work on the potential blockbuster "Transformers 4."
"When they first came to me, I thought no way that amateurs could compete against all the professional ad companies for these major commercials," said the 47-year-old Bay, who began in the entertainment business directing music videos and commercials. "Then I looked at the commercials and realized that everyday people were doing some of my favorite spots. I was shocked. A lot of these ads remind me when I was young and doing the 'Got Milk' campaign. It was fun and irreverent. It's time for someone else to make their mark."
Playbook had a few minutes to talk with Bay about this program, which is in its seventh year.
You started out in advertising and now are directing big-budget movies. So, in some ways, you see yourself in these contestants?
"I have a story to show you what I mean. I go to this coffee place and this annoying barista is there. He asks me question after question. I think, how did he get this job! I decide to go to another one. He's there too! He works at both places. One day in my office at Bay Films, I see the same barista! What's he doing here? We gave him a job? Can't be. This guy eventually turned out to be a great assistant and wanted to be a director. He helped us with the difficult movie 'Pearl Harbor.' He really thought about quitting then. But that was the best film school of his life. Years later, he's now a director doing his own movies. That shows you can do it if you work hard."
When will you begin working on "Transformers 4"?
"I'm finishing up 'Pain & Gain' with Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson. It's going a little slower than I had hoped. That comes out in the spring. It's a grown-up comedy that we don't do much of these days. It's R-rated and a little dark. We will start working on 'Transformers' starting next summer. It's going to be a great opportunity for someone to learn on the set. Writer, actor, producer. It'll be stuff they can't learn in the classroom."
Your movies have made more than $1 billion. Why do you like working on blockbusters such as the "Transformers" series, "Pearl Harbor," "Bad Boys" and "Armageddon"?
"I honestly like the thrill of it. I like telling stories to a big audience. I'm here to please people. We have to understand that we're here to entertain. No matter what any director says, they want people to see their movie."
But I thought you were done with the "Transformers" franchise after No. 3?
"I was. I really wanted to do 'Pain & Gain.' It's a low-budget $25 million movie. Wahlberg. Johnson. Twisted. Paramount said I will get to do it if I set up 'Transformers 4.' Then I saw the Transformer ride at Universal Studios and saw the lines. They were there for more than two hours. I thought, 'How can I give up my baby?' I then get a call from James Cameron who is talking about doing a second and third 'Avatar' and what my thoughts were on it. You see, directors love their franchises. Peter Jackson and the 'Lord of the Rings' also."
Be honest: You were afraid someone was going to ruin the franchise, right?
"I didn't want some young guy to come in and reinvent everything. It's tough. I know the language really well. It's really a complicated movie. I would hate to see maybe the next movie is not as good and that person would possibly kill the franchise. So I decided to come in and handle this movie, set it up on new footing with new characters. I will be handing it off more elegantly."