Michael Bay Biography
Michael Benjamin Bay (born 17.2.1965)
Michael Bay is an American Director and Producer known for his aggressive, controversial visual style, specialising in high-budget action sequences, containing fast edits, stylistic visuals and practical special effects. Michael Bay's notable films including, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor and the Transformers trilogy have grossed over 3 billion-dollars worldwide.
Despite achieving internationally box-office success, Michael Bay has received criticism from both critics and the general public.
Michael Bay: Childhood
Michael Bay was born in Los Angeles, California and was raised by adoptive parents, Harriet, a bookstore owner/child psychiatrist and his adoptive father, Jim, a Certified Public Accountant. Bay attended exclusive, Crossroads school in Santa Monica, California and states he can trace his interest of film back to childhood, when he would record attaching fire crackers to his toys and allowing them to explode. He was later grounded however his filming style was permanent.
Michael Bay: Directing Career
Bay began in the film industry interning with Academy Award nominated Director and Producer George Lucas, known for his predominant work on the Star Wars film series. Bay was filing the storyboards for four times Oscar winner, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Bay stated he thought the film was going to be terrible; however his opinion changed upon viewing the film. Bay referred to watching the film as the moment he wanted to become a film director.
Bay graduated from studying English and Film in 1986 from Wesleyan University where he went on to working at Propaganda Films, a successful film and music video production company. In 1992 Bay won a Clio Award for his first national commercial, advertising for Red Cross.
Bay continued to direct advertisements and music videos for the likes of Meatloaf before being acknowledged by producers Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean, CSI) and Don Simpson (The Rock, Top Gun). The producers approached Bay into directing his first-feature length film; Bad Boys starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence which went onto achieve a notable $141 million at the box office in the summer of 1995.
Bay sustained his working relationship with Bruckheimer and Simpson in The Rock (released in 1996). The film starred Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage and achieved an Academy Award nomination for best sound. Don Simpson died five months before the film was released.
Bay continued to work with Bruckheimer in the huge $140,000,000 box office hit, Armageddon (written by J.J Abrams and Jonathan Hensleigh). The films included an all-star cast of: Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thronton, Liv Tyler and Owen Wilson and was nominated for four Oscars, praised for its visual and sound effects. The film received a mixed response from critics with Peter Travers from the Rolling Stones stating 'How do I hate Armageddon? Let me count the ways'
Despite the critical response to Armageddon, Bay went on to work with Bruckheimer and Affleck in Pearl Harbor, a high budget love triangle war drama set around the Pearl Habor attracks. Despite winning one Oscar and being nominated for another three the film was criticised for not amplifying the emotion considered with war and it's inaccuracy to historic events.
After receiving negative reviews due to his insensitivity to historic, factual events, Bay returned to his directing roots and collaborated with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence once again in Bad Boys Two. The film was produced by Bruckheimer and like the working partners previous films it received negative critical reviews. Rolling Stones stating: 'Everything loud, dumb, violent, sexist, racist, misogynistic and homophobic that producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay can think of puking up onscreen'. Despite the negative critical response the film achieved notable recognition at the world wide Box Office.
In 2005 Bay Produced (without Bruckheimer) and Directed the Island - an action, sci-fi adventure where a 'harvestable being'/clone played by Ewan McGregor must escape the Utopian facility where he is being kept with help from co-star, Scarlett Johansson. The film also starred previous working relation, Sean Bean. The film received mixed responses from critics and the public whilst New York Post stated: 'Bay's best film since "The Rock."'. Bay himself criticised the marketing suggesting it gave a different and wrong impression to what the film intended.
Bay continued to produce smaller budget horror and thriller films, including a Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot and prequel before teaming up with critical acclaimed and notable director/producer Steven Spielberg in Transformers, a live action film based on the Hasbro franchise. The film starred up and coming actor, Shia LaBeouf and actress/model Megan Fox. The film grossed a notable $27.8 million on its first general released date and obtained the record for the 'largest opening [week] for a non-sequel' with an impressive - $155.4 million. The film has made over $700 million worldwide and received an impressive response from critics compared to Bay's previous films, achieving three Oscar nominations and Entertainment Weekly stating: Bay, at heart, isn't a fantasist; he's a literal-minded maestro of demolition.
Between the release of Transformers and its sequel, Bay produced another series of horror films including the 2009 Friday the 13th and psychological horror film - The Unborn. Bay returned as Director/Executive Producer for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, working with previous stars Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox. The film had a notable $200 million budget due to the success of the previous release and went on to achieve over $832 million worldwide, despite the majority of negative reviews from widely acknowledged Roger Ebert, Michael Phillips and David Denby.
Bay continued to produce re-boots of classic horror films before producing I am Number Four- a sci-fi action starring Alex Pettyfer and directed by D.J Caruso who worked with Transformers Star, LaBeouf in 2007's Disturbia.
Bay continued to direct and produce his box office hit franchise with the third in the series, Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The film starred Shia LaBeouf and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, a model cast in her first professional feature film in aim to replace Megan Fox who had conflicts with Bay. The film, again, received a mixed response from critics however achieved notable success at the box office.
Bay is currently working on an untitled Transformers sequel due to not star previous actor Shia LaBeouf as well as being rumoured to be working on Bad Boys 3.
Michael Bay: Personal Life
Bay lives in Los Angeles and Miami with his two Bullmastiffs, Bonecrusher and Grace named for characters in his previous films. His dogs often appear in his films with previous pet, Mason playing Miles' dog in Transformers before his death in 2007.