There was a time when Megan Fox was absolutely everywhere. After making her big-screen debut opposite the Olsen twins in 2001’s Holiday In The Sun, the model-turned-actor was cast as Mikaela Banes, the love interest of Shia LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky in Transformers. The film was a box-office smash and made Fox one of Hollywood’s most talked-about actors. She went on to star in the much underrated 2009 horror Jennifer’s Body and the hashed-out Transformers sequel, Revenge of the Fallen, which came out the same year. While working with a largely incoherent script, Fox delivered an engaging performance. Why, then, did she not return for the franchise’s next instalment? Let’s take a closer look.
The third Transformers film, Dark Moon, was expected to follow the trajectory laid out by the first two instalments, both of which earned over $1 billion at the box office. At the end of Revenge of The Fallen, Mikaela finally professes her love for Sam, leading many to assume she would return as Sam’s partner in the next movie. Instead, she was replaced by Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley, Sam’s new love interest, while her absence was explained away by a mysterious break-up.
One of the reasons her departure felt so jarring was that it wasn’t supposed to happen. Sadly, Fox made some remarks about Michael Bay that made her rather unpopular with the director. During an interview with Wonderland back in 2009, Fox took aim at Bay’s direction style, saying: “He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is. So he’s a nightmare to work for, but when you get him away from set, and he’s not in director mode, I kind of really enjoy his personality because he’s so awkward, so hopelessly awkward.” The following year, it was announced that Fox wouldn’t be returning to the franchise, with some news outlets reporting that Megan had made the decision and other’s claiming that Steven Spielberg had asked Bay to fire her.
Following her departure from Transformers, Fox began openly criticising Bay for sexualising underage girls in his movies. Speaking to Jimmy Fallon, she recounted working with the director for the first time on Bad Boys II when she was 15 years old. “They were shooting this club scene, and they brought me in, and I was wearing a stars-and-stripes bikini and a red cowboy hat and, like, six-inch heels,” she said.
Adding: “[Bay] approved it, and they said, you know, ‘Michael, she’s 15, so you can’t sit her at the bar, and she can’t have a drink in her hand’. So his solution to that problem was to then have me dancing underneath a waterfall, getting soaking wet. At 15, I was in tenth grade. So, that’s sort of a microcosm of how Bay’s mind works.”