Michael Bay’s 2007 science fiction action movie Transformers, based on Hasbro’s toy line of the same name, was directed from a screenplay written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. The movie stars Shia LaBeouf, and Megan Fox in the lead roles and recounts the tale of them being caught up in a war between heroic Autobots and alien robots.

Upon its release, Transformers became the fifth-highest-grossing movie of 2007 receiving appreciation for its action sequences, visual effects, and sound design. The movie received a positive reaction from the audience and was later followed by seven more movies. The screenwriters who were reportedly hired by Steven Spielberg, who served as the executive producer of the movie, did have one simple condition for working on the movie.

Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox in 2007’s Transformers

Roberto Orci reveals their focus while writing Transformers 

Screenwriter duo Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman collaborated with Michael Bay for 2007’s Transformers, and during an interview with IGN, they were asked about including his trademark visuals. The movie starred Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox. Orci said,

“We were not asked at a time when we knew he would do it. They sort of asked us, ‘What do you think of him for the movie?’ And we were like, ‘Actually, that’s a good idea, and we will develop something with him in mind’.”

Orci and Kurtzman had worked with Bay on 2005’s The Island, starring Ewan McGregor, and Scarlett Johansson. After DreamWorks Pictures acquired the rights to the script of The Island, the writing duo worked hard on re-writing the script according to the director’s vision. The duo reportedly rewrote the second and third acts of the movie. However, the movie despite having a compelling premise, failed to impress the audience and opened to mixed reviews.

Transformers' writing duo worked on The Island
Ewan McGregor, and Scarlett Johansson in The Island

The screenwriter noted that while they were rewriting the original script for the movie, Michael Bay wanted to reduce conflict to its most physical form, which did not work for the movie. According to Forbes, the movie on an estimated budget of $126 million could only gross over $162 million, which was disappointing for the team. Talking about their collaboration with Bay yet again for Transformers; they had one thing very clear in their minds;

“Our target was to write something that we wanted to see, that Michael Bay would want to see, and that Spielberg would want to see. That was our holy trinity of what we wanted, hoping that if we hit all of those targets, it would be good for the audience.”

Orci mentioned that the duo are very detailed about their action, transitions adding that they tend to put visual and line transitions into their scripts.

Roberto Orci talks about what convinced him and Alex Kurtzman to write Transformers

During his conversation with IGN, the screenwriter mentioned that they were asked by Steven Spielberg to join the project, and they didn’t instantly say yes. Orci shared about the one little condition they had before they said yes to the project. He said,

“We came in ready to not do it. Steven Spielberg asked us to come in and talk about doing it, and we had to ‘see it’; we don’t want to sign on and say yes just because you’re asking.”

Shia LaBeouf
Shia LaBeouf played Sam Witwicky in the movie

He explained that the movie needed to have a human element to it to convince them to write the screenplay. Orci noted that they believed that it should have a POV of a path about a boy and his car. The screenwriter mentioned that it was essential for them to know what human story would be the starting point, which would then extrapolate the rest.

Roberto Orci admitted that realism was important to them, adding that they knew that people think of Transformers as toys, but the element of fun in it is what they didn’t want to lose. So he admitted that they worked hard to make the script as real as possible while keeping that sense of fun alive.

Transformers is available for VOD on Prime Video.

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