5. Development Deal
Back in 2003, producer Don Murphy was working with Hasbro to get GI Joe onto the big screen.
But with a messy war raging in Iraq, toy makers Hasbro – which were partnering on the Joe movie – suggested switching tracks to Transformers instead.
Murphy brought producer Tom DeSanto on board, who cranked out a treatment based on the first generation of ‘bot warriors.
When asked why he wanted to work on a TF movie, DeSanto admitted it could lead to compelling cinema: "In all the years of movie-making, I don't think the image of a truck transforming into a twenty-foot tall robot has ever been captured on screen.
"I also want to make a film that's a homage to '80s movies and gets back to the sense of wonder that Hollywood has lost over the years.
"It will have those Spielbergian moments where you have the push-in on the wide-eyed kid and you feel like you're ten years old even if you're thirty-five."
Talking of Steven Spielberg, the man himself became attached as producer in 2004, around the time that The Core writer John Rogers penned a first draft that saw four Autobots taking on four Decepticons and featured the Ark spaceship that brought the robots to Earth.
Spielberg preferred the idea that the focus should be on the human level, with “a boy and his car” as the driving force.
Writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (above) were brought in to craft new drafts for Spielberg.
The script went through various transformations of its own – with the robots silent in one draft (the producers feared talking robots would be silly, while the writers argued it was necessary).
On 30th July 2005, Spielberg hired a director to take on the job.
His name? Michael Bay. His response? “I told Steven it was a stupid toy movie”.
Next: Bring The Bayhem!