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Actor Shia LaBeouf has greatly admired his Transformers director Michael Bay. But when they first met, LaBeouf admitted it took some time getting used to Bay’s extreme directorial style.

Especially since in one scene the director had real attack dogs chase LaBeouf on his first day filming.

Why Shia LaBeouf really wanted to work with Michael Bay

Shia LaBeouf posing at the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards.
Shia LaBeouf | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

LaBeouf originally met Michael Bay by doing a simple screen test for Transformers. Afterward, the young actor had a meeting with Bay, who further asked LaBeouf to read a few lines. Bay also had LaBeouf perform a couple of standup routines, which further sold Bay on the Even Stevens alum.

Eventually, both Bay and Transformers producer Steven Spielberg signed off on LaBeouf. This was more than exciting news for the superstar, who had always wanted to work with Bay.

“My whole thing was I wanted to work with Michael, because first and foremost, I’m a true fan of Mike’s movies. There’s not one movie he’s made that I’m not entertained by—not one,” LaBeouf confided in a 2011 interview with GQ. “Not one where I don’t watch the entire thing all the way through. And there are a lot of movies I can’t get through. If there’s anything to say about Michael: he makes entertaining films. He knows his audience. When I met Mike, I was a seventeen-year-old boy. He was my f****** god.”

Actually working with Bay was everything LaBeouf thought it’d be, and perhaps more.

“He’s always there for you; when the going gets tough, he never flinches. He’s helpful; he’s confident; he’s a risk-taker. But he’s also completely unreasonable and irrational sometimes and emotional and aggressive and demanding. He’s my coach; I love him; he’s my captain,” LaBeouf added.

Michael Bay had Shia LaBeouf attacked by real attack dogs during filming

Although LaBeouf enjoyed his time with Bay, working with the director took a bit of an adjustment period. Collaborating with the Bad Boys director was unlike working alongside previous directors, especially with Bay putting LaBeouf’s physical wellbeing at risk. On the first day he shot Transformers, LaBeouf opened up about how the director had him chased by dogs.

“The first day I came to set, the first thing I was asked to do was run away from a pitbull/mastiff/Doberman combo, that was supposed to run at me, towards camera, and then run into this dog trainer’s arms,” he said.

But things took a turn for the worse when LaBeouf realized the trained dogs weren’t actually trained for filming.

“There’s no way he’s going to make me run around with dogs that aren’t trained. But, surprise surprise, these dogs have never done a f******* movie before. They were attack dogs from a retired police academy, and so they were trained to attack people,” LaBeouf added.

Because of this, the attack dogs didn’t listen to their trainer when chasing after LaBeouf.

“So literally I just ran around set, and I remember all the crew—this is my first shot, first take—all the crew was throwing chairs at the dog, trying to distract these dogs who were on my tail and relentless and not going to stop,” LaBeouf continued. “And I remember them finally corralling the dogs and looking over at Mike, who’s just giggling. Just f****** giggling. Giggling. And every director I worked with to that point wouldn’t have been giggling—here’s the star of his movie about to be mauled to death, day one, and Mike is just giggling.”

Michael Bay felt like he fathered Shia LaBeouf


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Like LaBeouf, Bay was also very fond of his time with the young actor. After the Transformers franchise, LaBeouf has been involved in many scandals and controversies over the years. But the Armageddon director believed LaBeouf was a good person at his core whose upbringing may have influenced his decisions.

“He was a kid when I worked with him. I sort of fathered him. A couple times he acted up but he’s a very talented kid. He really is nice… He had a tough upbringing. But he’s a fantastic actor,” Bay said in an interview with Yahoo.