Michael Bay is in final negotiations to direct a new Transformers film, insiders tell Vulture. In recent days, Bay has been assembling a cast for a long-gestating project that even predates Bay’s entry into planet-destroying, Pain and Gain, based on a three-part New Times story about the infamous “Sun Gym gang,” a group of dimwitted Miami bodybuilders who kidnapped, tortured, and robbed a Florida businessman but got their comeuppance when their left-for-dead victim hired a private eye to hunt them down. Insiders tell Vulture that Bay has been seeking to adapt the sordid revenge tale almost since its publication in 1999, and that it’s proving the major blandishment in getting Bay to commit to launching a new Transformers cycle. "Without Pain, there’s no tit for tat," explains one person familiar with the talks, "That’s Paramount’s leverage."
Another insider familiar with the situation cautioned that while Paramount “does not have a closed deal” with Bay, the studio “is not far from closing” on one, either, and that an announcement could come as early as next week. Meanwhile, the details of the next cyborg saga are being kept secret, but we’re told that it is definitely not a prequel, and that it will delve deeper into the Transformers canon to mine older characters and lore. "Regular people might not care about bringing out a character like Sentinel Prime," says one of our insiders, referring to the little-known character who played a major part in last summer’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, "But believe me, fans of the series cared."
If both deals are made, we are told that Bay is likely to begin shooting Pain and Gain almost immediately — as soon as early spring — and then pivot to a new sequence of Transformers by winter 2012. "Spielberg does this all the time," says our insider, "where you’re doing art development and visual effects tests on your next movie while you’re still shooting the current one. The beauty of Michael doing Pain and Gain is that there’s no [technical] complexity to it compared to Transformers."
Or, in the words of Megatron, "The humans cannot stop us!"