“Transformers 4” Stars Will Be Chosen By Reality Television
If you still needed evidence that the Transformers movies were more of a product than an artistic enterprise, look no further: Paramount has announced that four cast members in the upcoming Transformers 4 will be selected by a reality TV show competition. But before you get your headshots ready, make sure you check your home address… if you don't live in China, you can't enter.
In the latest attempt by American movie studios to court Chinese audiences – following the recent announcement of an extended Chinese edition of Iron Man 3 by Marvel Studios – Paramount will "transform" the casting process of Transformers 4 into a televised event in the lucrative foreign market, where reality television is one of the most popular forms of entertainment. Hollywood Reporter has announced that four undisclosed roles in the film will be decided by the series, including two for actors with professional experience, and two for actors who would be making their big debut.The competition will be called "Transformers 4 Chinese Actor Talent Search."
The judges for the Transformers 4 reality TV show will include Sid Gainis, the former head of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (now the chairman of the Chinese movie streaming service Jiaflix), Transformers 4 producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, and Paramount's marketing and distribution Megan Colligan. Representing the Chinese investors are Jia Qi, the deputy director of Transformers 4 co-producers China Movie Channel, and Liang Longfei, the vice-president of m1905, through which potential contestants can register for the series.
The final judge will be an honest to goodness casting director, Denise Chamian (Saving Private Ryan, Eyes Wide Shut), whom we hope gets an extra vote or two since finding good actors is actually in her job description.
The producers of "Transformers 4 Chinese Actor Talent Search" say that the series' winning contestants will be joining “a number of talented Chinese actors and actresses” in the upcoming Michael Bay film, scheduled to open next year on June 27, 2014. Already cast in the big budget sequel are Mark Wahlberg (Pain and Gain), Nicola Peltz ("Bates Motel"), Jack Reynor (Chasing Leprechauns) and the recently-announced Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones).
We're still trying to decide if casting Transformers 4 via reality television is better or worse than Michael Bay's usual method of picking beautiful supermodels at random.
William Bibbiani is the editor of CraveOnline's Film Channel, co-host of The B-Movies Podcast, co-star of The Trailer Hitch, and the writer of The Test of Time. Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.