Megan Fox was picked from obscurity and seemed to be destined for a life on the Hollywood A-list after appearing in two blockbuster Transformers films. But comments in which she compared director Michael Bay to Adolf Hitler got her fired from the franchise.
Bay told GQ in 2011 that the decision to fire Fox wasn't his, but Transformers executive producer Steven Spielberg's. He said, "You know the Hitler thing. Steven (Spielberg) said, fire her right now."
The controversy erupted in 2009, when Fox told Wonderland magazine that Bay was 'a nightmare to work with'. "He's like Napoleon and he wants to create this insane, infamous mad-man reputation," Fox said. "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. He has no social skills at all. And it's endearing to watch him."
Bay, on his part, said that he'd moved on from the incident and wasn't hurt. "I wasn't hurt, because I know that's just Megan. Megan loves to get a response," Bay told GQ. "And she does it in kind of the wrong way. I'm sorry, Megan. I'm sorry I made you work twelve hours. I'm sorry that I'm making you show up on time. Movies are not always warm and fuzzy." Bay would later cast Fox in the rebooted version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which he produced.
Fox's representatives always maintained that she wasn't fired, but that she chose not to return for more Transformers movies. Fox was replaced by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in the third Transformers movie. "It was her decision not to return. She wishes the franchise the best," her rep had told People magazine.
Fox's co-star in the Transformers franchise, Shia LaBeouf, defended Bay. "She started s*** talking our captain. Which you can't do," he told GQ. In an interview to the Los Angeles Times, he said, "Megan developed this Spice Girl strength, this woman-empowerment [stuff] that made her feel awkward about her involvement with Michael, who some people think is a very lascivious filmmaker, the way he films women."
He continued, "Mike films women in a way that appeals to a 16-year-old sexuality. It's summer. It's Michael's style. And I think [Fox] never got comfortable with it. This is a girl who was taken from complete obscurity and placed in a sex-driven role in front of the whole world and told she was the sexiest woman in America. And she had a hard time accepting it. When Mike would ask her to do specific things, there was no time for fluffy talk. We're on the run. And the one thing Mike lacks is tact. There's no time for [LaBeouf assumes a gentle voice] 'I would like you to just arch your back 70 degrees.'"
Bay, in an interview to the Wall Street Journal, implied that Fox was being ungrateful about the opportunity she'd been given. "She says some very ridiculous things because she's 23 years old and she still has a lot of growing to do... Nobody in the world knew about Megan Fox until I found her and put her in Transformers," he said. "I like to think that I've had some luck in building actors' careers with my films."
The Transformers franchise has been rebooted twice. Bay went on to direct five films in the series, before handing over the reins to Travis Knight for the prequel film Bumblebee.