Like any notable filmmaker, director Michael Bay has plenty of acolytes and detractors. But it seems he’s earned the fandom of one of today’s most legendary actors: Sir Anthony Hopkins, who stars in Bay’s upcoming Transformers: The Last Knight.
In an interview with (opens in new tab), Hopkins refers to Bay as a “genius.” Yes, you read that correctly. “I thought, ‘This guy’s a genius, he really is,’” Hopkins said. “He’s the same ilk as Oliver Stone and Spielberg and Scorsese. They’re brilliant. Savants. I mean, he’s a savant.” Wow, that is incredibly high praise - especially coming from an actor who has worked with top shelf filmmakers like Ridley Scott, David Lynch, and Francis Ford Coppola.
Bay has been a divisive filmmaker ever since the beginning of his career. Some critics dismissed his flashy music video style, but others were quick to point out how he made a difficult task like blowing things up on screen look effortless. Personally, I prefer his smaller scale movies like Pain and Gain to things like Transformers; I appreciate when he’s not bogged down by franchise mythology and can get back to the slick, stylish storytelling for which he used to be known. (Haters: go back and watch Bay’s 1996 film The Rock, and try to tell me that movie isn’t great.)
When I first heard that Hopkins called him a genius, I’ll admit that my first reaction was to scoff. But the more I think about it, the more I realize how accurate it is. Bay may not be able to make the same kind of emotionally resonant movies as someone like Spielberg or Scorsese, but he’s undoubtedly a genius when it comes to organizing massive action on the biggest possible canvas.
Directed by Michael Bay and starring Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel, John Goodman, and more, Transformers: The Last Knight arrives in theaters on June 23, 2017. (opens in new tab).