Transformers: Rise of the Beasts producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura made it abundantly clear the film will be pushing a cultural and social change message through its human storyline that Paramount Pictures has done an excellent job of hiding in its most recent trailer and the teaser trailer before that.
In a recent interview with Collider, di Bonaventura was asked how this movie, which is set in the 1990s, compares in terms of its tone to previous films and whether or not it is unique.
As part of his answer he said, “Our first objective was to figure out, how do we hold on to the emotionality of the experience for the humans that are going through it? And our decision was to give them character arcs that are more significant than we’ve done before.”
He continued, “It’s hard to say that about Shia [LaBeouf] in the first movie; you know, he goes from being a young man, essentially, to a man, right? In this case, Anthony Ramos and Dominique [Fishback’s] characters are both characters who are trying to find their way in a life, and in a cultural society, that’s not making it the easiest for them.”
“And so, the experience of the movie for those characters is to come to terms, not exactly about who they are, but how to move forward in their lives. It’s an interesting character arc for both of them where they fulfill, to a certain extent, the desire that they were having for themselves,” he elaborated.
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The film’s director Steven Caple Jr. previously hinted at this in an interview with BET when he was asked about what it means to be a black director helming a major blockbuster franchise.
First, he said, “You came straight out the gate with that one [laughs] — it’s been an emotional ride.”
“It’s been two years now — Anthony [Ramos] and I talk about having this type of opportunity but also understanding it’s our time. For us to be in this position where we can tell a story about our culture, our people, and see ourselves portrayed on the big screen blending in with these vast genres is special,” he continued.
He went on, “There are not too many people on the actor or director side to be in this position on this scale and scope, and we’re doing our best to carry this weight.”
“No matter how many times [Anthony] and I look at each other on set, tired and all, we realize we’re able to do something special and for a reason,” he added. “We created something special, and it feels great to be in this position — super honored and blessed.”
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When specifically asked about why he chose “Juicy” for the first teaser trailer, Caple said, “The movie takes place in the 90s when the album Ready Or Die was released, so that’s why [Juicy] was the perfect record to choose. His voice and what he meant in that era and time captures much of what we’re doing in the film.”
“Fishback, who originally is from Brooklyn — her character and Ramos’s character have a lot of big dreams and hit glass ceilings but ultimately become the heroes saving the world discreetly as that’s how the Transformer laws are,” he detailed.
He added, “You have these average folks transforming into something huge and special we didn’t know existed, so the record was a right move — it was our anthem on set, so we played Biggie or Anthony was singing [The Tempations].”
Ramos, who plays a character named Noah, provided BET with some details about his characters, “He comes from a lower-income home, so Noah’s always hustling. The one thing I love about Noah is his tenacity and his heart, and his will to never quit, in spite of all the crazy things life is throwing at him.”
“Then, it’s amazing to see his journey when we venture out into the world when the humans meet bots, and things start to happen,” he added.
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He also made a point to note the races of himself and his co-star Dominique Fishback, “We have new elements and characters, with Black and Brown people in the lead roles.”
“Things have expanded, and with me being from New York, where the story is set in Brooklyn, this feels like it’s for all my homies in the projects,” he asserted. “[Steven] and the creative team allowed us to tell a story in a major franchise like [Transformers] in a part of New York that doesn’t always get highlighted in this kind of way.”
“The series saw Shia LeBeouf and Mark Wahlberg as the lead, and now it’s me. It was Megan Fox, Nicola Peltz, and now Dominique [Fishback]. This film incorporates the Beast wars, the Terrorcons — it’s going crazy.”
What do you make of di Bonaventura’s comments?
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