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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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'Transformers 3': Will John Malkovich and Frances McDormand get a robot-sized paycheck?

 MalkovichShia La Beouf and Megan Fox are returning to "Transformers 3," which is already set for a July 1, 2011, release date. But the real news is that Michael Bay has managed to lure John Malkovich and Frances McDormand into joining his noisy robot blockbuster sequel, which is sort of like getting Rufus Wainwright and Neko Case to sing a couple of duets with Taylor Swift.

You can color me impressed, since Bay (best described by the New Yorker's David Denby as "the stunningly untalented Michael Bay") isn't really known for his Elia Kazan-style devotion to actors (though "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" did feature the presence of John Turturro). Since it's hard to imagine that either Malkovich or McDormand have an abiding fascination for robots or a true love for standing in front of a green screen, we're just guessing that their agents must have uttered the immortal words: "Show me the money."

Greenbacks aside, the casting move is something of a mystery, since let's face it: Bay is dreaming if he thinks that the precense of Malkovich and McDormand will class up the movie enough to make critics like it. And it's not like the franchise needs a couple of Oscar types to help it out at the box office, where it has raked in mountains of shekels, despite some of the most witheringly bad reviews in recent history.

McDormand But here's my question to you. It's pretty obvious that the actors are doing this for a nice fat paycheck. Does that bother you? You could argue that both actors have shown enormous devotion to their craft over the years, so they're entitled to rake in some cash, especially in an era when there are fewer and fewer speciality films for them to star in. Or you could argue that it's still a bad idea, citing the example of John Cusack, who lost a sizable chunk of audience goodwill by cashing in on his bona fides in the supremely laughable "2012." Or to put it in two words: Nicolas Cage.

I'm not much of a stickler for high-mindedness, since I still love and adore Michael Caine, even if he did star in "Jaws: The Revenge" and "Bewitched." His reputation remains untarnished by dozens of bad movies. But Cage is now considered a total hack after taking too many paycheck parts. I'm hoping Malkovich and McDormand can survive the "Transformers" cringe factor. What do you think? 

Top photo: John Malkovich. Credit: Paladin

Bottom photo: Frances McDormand. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (23)

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I think you might want to proof your work a touch more than you do. "Precense" and "2011" come to mind. Sort of shocking really, given the LA TIMES banner.

Talk about sell-outs! This is why I'm leaving LA, because the business now stinks.

Cusack was a gas in the terrible but kinda entertaining.."2012" no goodwill lost on me!

Malkovich is a Bay veteran - he was in Con-Air (with Nic Cage)

do you guys ever research before you write? or edit? (or did the Mayans move the date to 2011?

Transformers 2 received bad reviews, but not terrible, stop exaggerating things, its not like it received single digits on rt meter, i remember jon voight in the 1st one who was once considered a good actor, but now a paycheck actor, so stop blowing smoke

I don't remember the movie 2011 starring John Cusack. Looks like someone got the release year of Transformers 3 mixed up with the movie Cusack was in. 2011 will be the beginning of the end if those two fine actors are really in the movie.

Transformers 1 was fun, the second one, well, sucked.
I'm sure the third will make money, but if it actually has a good story line and
script, it will do even better. And it will help if you have the talent available to
you to power that script along.

No problems with actors of this caliber if they ocassionally take the "paid for my house" role. They've earned it! And I share your affinity for Michael Caine and what he brings to a role, no matter if it's Oscar-worthy or just a paycheck movie. Nic Cage, however :-)

His name is RUFUS Wainwright and Cusack was in "2102," not 2011.

What kind of hack are you?

i see your Nic Cage and raise you John Travolta.

I'm not an actor, so I can't really comment on the skill sets. However, sometimes people need to vent a little in their craft--to enjoy the fruit of their bounty. Let's face it, anything from Michael Bay is a paycheck. If these actors want to do that then God bless them. Mindless fluff is needed every now and again. And you know what? I really don't care. I know what to expect when I hand over hard-earned cash to Michael Bay. I expect it to be loud, and I expect it to be fast!

 
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