Michael Bay: love him or hate him, there’s just no one like this no holds barred, outspoken, over the top filmmaker. His latest film “Ambulance” opens this Friday and had its premiere last night at the Academy Museum. On stage, still impossibly shaggy haired Bay declared, “Any Snipers, Swat, SIS, Helicopter Air Units, come on guys stand up and stay standing up. LADP, Sheriffs, LA paramedics, firefighters, keep standing up, this is for you guys!”
As the crowd clapped appreciatively, Bay quipped, “This is how I know no one is going to come up on this stage and slap me right now. I’m kidding, Will and I are buddies.” Bay then shifted gears and explained, “First responders, Police, I’ve made a lot of movies about them. My first one was ‘Bad Boys.’ This movie shows how important you people are to society. When you see movies like this, you realize why you are here and why you are putting your lives on the line. So we all thank you.”
The director then noted, “This film was shot in the height of the LA pandemic. We did it in 38 days, very fast. I’m always trying to get a little too ambitious. Hey, we’re spending 40 million dollars on this movie and for me that’s small. So I’m shooting in a Mom van and we’re going to shoot silly shots of ambulance driving at high speed on a freeway. All of a sudden five highway patrol cops roll in in these nice shiny cars and three motorcycle cops. I’m like ‘hello would you guys like to be in my movie? They said yeah!’ My producer told me that it would cost $400,000 to shut down a freeway and two months of planning. Well I told him, “ I got my friends right here” and we went on that freeway doing 90 miles an hour , they did rolling blocks, for free, so I’m good at sweet talking!”
Michael thanked his crew, “on a normal shoot we would do 25-30 shots a day on this film we were shooting 120 shots a day. We survived you did not” he quipped to producer Bradley Fischer who was standing on the side. Bay went on to introduce Jake Gyllenhaal as a “man who commands the screen, a consummate actor.”
Then he introduced Eiza Gonzales, who plays the tough paramedic and Yahya Abdul-Mateen ll, aka YaYa, who Bay said, “is going to be a superstar, he’s Mr. Superfly.” Bay wanted certain music to accompany YaYa’s entrance, when it came after the actor walked out he joked, “ah come on , this is a late cue, come on this is Academy! Thank God we are not on live TV.” Jake joked, “Don’t worry, the movie is only four times as long as this introduction.” Bay — legendary for overspending– couldn’t resist one more dig as he thanked certain Universal execs, but also said, “yeah, one of them is always busting my balls about the budget.”
Leave it to Bay to always have the last word. Review to come, but suffice to say that Gyllenhaal and company make this Bay’s most entertaining, over the top noisy, messy films in years.