Months of prep needed for Transformers 4 filming in Hong Kong
Filmmaker Michael Bay faced plentiful challenges filming Transformers: Age of Extinction on location in Hong Kong. The production generated headlines when a handful of locals tried to extort the crew and the director himself was attacked on set.
Bay has clarified that he dodged a local man who attacked him with an air-conditioning unit on location, but while news agencies were quick to speculate on the involvement of Hong Kong triad gangs, Bay has downplayed the incidents.
Paramount Pictures originally agreed to film the Transformers sequel partly in China after making local co-operation agreements. Having wrapped the first part of filming in the country, Bay told the South China Morning Post that the Hong Kong shoot was a challenge that was nine months in the planning: “Hong Kong was very hard. I’ve had difficult locations in my life, but shooting in the market with so many people watching ... it made it very challenging.
“I can still shoot in Texas and people in China are still going to see it. You want to do something new and different. I’m tired of shooting in Los Angeles ... I almost shot it out. You need new inspiration. This is the city that I always wanted to shoot.”
Scenes set in Hong Kong were in fact divided between the real city and an elaborate set built in central Detroit that was blown up in intense action sequences over the summer.
I’m tired of shooting in Los Angeles ... I almost shot it out. You need new inspiration. This is the city that I always wanted to shoot.
Filming in China seems likely to have been partly driven by a desire to tap more comprehensively into the country’s deep Transformers fan base, as the previous films have been big hits in the region. Forming local partnerships and increasing Chinese content can help Hollywood productions get around tight domestic restrictions on foreign film distribution, which in turn helps boost box-office.
Censorship remains a controversial issue for some filmmakers shooting in China, but the Transformers script was apparently cleared without incident by the country's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.
(Photo: Paramount Pictures/Michael Bay)
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