Michael Bay The Island Interview
by Paul Fischer in New York.BAY SWIMS TO A FRESH ISLAND
Michael Bay was running so late for interviews promoting his clone-theedactioner The Island, that he didnt even make most of his group interviews."I just finished the film two days ago", Bay says, apologetically. Whilesome who work with him, actors and crew alike, refer to him as bothenergetic and tactless, even brash, Bay prefers to use the adjective blunt but insists that perceived temperament is not taken so seriously by thosewho know him. "Well a lot of times its done for humour, and a lot of thecrew thats worked with me understand that Ill tease people and give them ahard time, jokingly - you know, take the piss out of people." But Bay alsosees himself as a passionate director. "You could say Im kind of like afireball on the set, which is how I get my creativity. I like to shoot fastand I care very much about actors, even though Im brash," he adds,laughingly.
The director, known for his loud action flicks such as Bad Boys, The Rockand Armageddon, opted for a change of pace with The Island, that manages togo almost 45 minutes without an explosion, and Bay said he revelled at hisself-control. "I was biting my tongue like God! I hope it works. I hopeit works. Cause I didnt know if this place would be cool or justridiculous. I shot the movie so out of order I shot the ending and thenthe beginning and just flipped it. But I really like the slow reveal whichwas very attractive as well as the idea and concept behind the movie." Setin the mid-21st century, the films central character is Lincoln Six-Echo(Ewan McGregor), a resident of a seemingly utopian but contained facility.Like all of the inhabitants of this carefully controlled environment,Lincoln hopes to be chosen to go to the "The Island" - reportedly the lastuncontaminated spot on the planet. But Lincoln soon discovers thateverything about his existence is a lie. He and all of the other inhabitantsof the facility are actually human clones whose only purpose is to provide spare parts for their original human counterparts. Realizing it is only amatter of time before he is "harvested," Lincoln makes a daring escape witha beautiful fellow resident named Jordan Two-Delta (Scarlett Johansson).Relentlessly pursued by the forces of the sinister institute that oncehoused them, Lincoln and Jordan engage in a race for their lives toliterally meet their makers.
Though most of the film is an adrenalin-charged chase movie in true Baytradition, the first act takes on unusually elaborate sci-fi proportions. Intrying to maintain a realistic view of a technological future withoutgoing to extremes, Bay did some additional research. "I went to Microsoft,met with a think-tank and that was quite interesting." Originally set 100years in the future, Bay decided to change it to 15 years, "because Irealised you couldnt really identify with the movie if it was set to farout. Its much scarier if its really closer to now."
Different from a typical Michael Bay summer movie, the director said thistime around, he really wanted to focus more on script and story. "I mean, you want to grow each time you go out and I think its great how I reallyheld back and not like slam-bam, thank you, maam, as I normally do."
While the trades have Bay about to start the new Transformers movie forDreamWorks, Bay is not so sure thats necessarily his next film. "Ive gotthis black comedy thats just actors acting, that is set up at Paramount."He thinks hell shoot that well before he takes on, what he describes as"this Transformers thing that were developing."
THE ISLAND OPENS ON FRIDAY