Nerdery, Puppets, Toys

TR Interview: Brooke Seguin, Director of the Transformers 30-Minute Musical



Lots of people bitch about Michael Bay’s handling of the Transformers, but Brooke Seguin decided to do something about it. In a 30-minute musical parody she wrote and directed, which runs for two more weekends at The Hudson Backstage Theatre in Hollywood, Seguin makes Michael Bay an active participant in his own movie, replacing actors on the spot if they aren’t “hot” enough, yelling through megaphones, and ensuring that Megan Fox holds the most fetishistic poses possible. Meanwhile, the robots themselves attempt the best acting possible while wearing shoulder pads and cardboard.

We talked to Brooke after catching the show.

Luke Y. Thompson: You know, a lot of people who adapt plays based on genre properties, they’re really big fans of the stuff. But your director’s statement flat-out says, “I hate this movie.”

Brooke Seguin: I hate this movie. That’s true, I do. I hate that movie. Well, I’m a huge fan of Transformers – the cartoon.

LYT: Right.

BS: So, you know, that’s probably why I super-hated the movie when it came out. I was just so excited for a Transformers film, because I loved the cartoon movies – especially the ’85 cartoon movie – and the show growing up. So the movie when it came out in 2007 was just one of those, “WHAT?? What are you doing?” So it was really the first time we’ve done a 30-minute musical on a movie that I absolutely hated.


LYT: Is it weird to devote that kind of energy to recreating something that you dislike that actively, or is it cathartic?

BS: It was horrible. It was horrible. Having to watch the movie – because the first time I saw it, I think in 2007, I just kind of fast-forwarded a lot of it. You know? It was like, can we destroy one more building with a robot? I had to fast-forward through a lot of it. So sitting down to actually go through it with a fine-tooth comb was just like ripping my hair out.

But when you start to pay attention to something with that kind of lens, of like, “OK, now I’m going to make fun of this,” and you’re kind of looking for each moment, it ends up being a cathartic process. Because then you’re like, “OK – every terrible thing that they did to destroy this thing I loved as a kid – now I get to tear it apart a little.”

LYT: It does make you kind of realize that if Michael Bay were an actual character, rather than just the implied directorial voice, it would improve the movies quite a bit.

BS: [laughs]That’s true. Very true.

LYT: With sort of a Rocky Horror-type narrator.

BS: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah, it’s interesting to just kind of look at the movie through that kind of Michael Bay voice. And a lot of the stuff that he does in the show is – I mean, as soon as I tell people what I’m doing, or what show we’re doing next – I mean, I got endless stories from people who had been on Michael Bay’s sets, or worked with him on different things. Everyone had something to say.

LYT: One of the ironies, I imagine, is when you’re casting sort-of Michael Bay women for the play, you have to employ some of the same criteria he would employ casting them. Does that feel strange?

BS: It is super strange. Luckily, throughout the shows that we’ve done, we’ve kind of just amassed some ladies that are hot! So it was easy to say, “Oh, hey – you fit in this. You’re already hot.” I don’t have to go out casting for these particular – skill sets? I’ll say skill sets.


LYT: Yeah. The play kind of implies that Megan Fox is fully aware of her role and embraces it. Do you think that’s the way it is in real life?

BS: I don’t think so. I think she – I think that she’s actually aware of the role she was put in, as she grew older. She was cast so young! I mean – I think she was 15 when she did a music video that I believe Michael Bay directed. So I think that throughout – as she kind of grew, I think she became more aware of what her role was, and what she’s actually doing in these movies.

She now has that quote calling him “Hitler,” and she’s made comments, and I think she kind of is aware – you’re in a movie for 13 year-old boys, essentially. I think she’s kind of picked up on that. And we kind of tried to play that a little bit. Everybody kind of knows what they’ve gotten themselves into.


LYT: Yeah. Then also, sort of the implication that maybe Shia LaBeouf had his breakdown based on being in these Transformers movies. Do you think that contributed?

BS: I think it totally could have. If you’ve grown up in a world of Hollywood, and his role model, the people around him, are people like Michael Bay – you know, geez. It’s a whole other level of self-aggrandizing, self-importance.

LYT: You have that Dinobot interlude in the middle. What do you think of the Dinobots that you’ve seen so far in the new trailer?

BS: Well, you know, when I first saw that trailer watching the Super Bowl, like most people, and I was so sad. Because I knew at that point I had already written Dinobot jokes. I guess it’s kind of like that thing if you’re a kid when you first see Ewoks, you really, really love Ewoks.

LYT: Yeah.

BS: But older folks were not that into Ewoks. It’s kind of the same thing. Dinobots are so funny, I loved the Dinobots when I was a kid. I kind of wanted to make that joke, like, “We didn’t get Dinobots in Transformers. They didn’t happen.” Also, Arcee didn’t happen, so it was kind of that thing.


LYT: Will the next one you do – maybe not necessarily the next one you do, but one down the line, are you looking at doing a Michael Bay Ninja Turtles one pretty quick, or would you maybe do Revenge of the Fallen instead?

BS: Oh, goodness. I don’t know. I think I’ll stay away from Michael Bay for a while. [chuckles]I think I’ll stay away from him for a while. I know we’re going to do a double feature of Top Gun and Road House next. We’ve done both of those before, so we’re going to put them together for like a little ’80s power hour. We’ll do that in May. But yeah – I think I’ve kind of exorcised that demon for myself, for a little while and move on.

LYT: For my non-LA readers, is there a way to see Trans4mers? Is it going to be on YouTube? Will it travel anywhere else? That kind of thing.

BS: We will put some clips up, you know, and we’re also working on just shooting some fun music videos – some things like that from the show. And we’ll have – we’ll be rolling out some things like that over the next few weeks or so.

LYT: No pun intended with the phrase “roll out”?

BS: [laughs]No pun intended! It’s the perfect phrase – it applies everywhere.

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