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TRANSFORMERS

About The Production (Continued)
Tyrese Gibson is Technical Sergeant Epps

Like every other boy his age, Tyrese Gibson was not only a fan of Transformers™ action figures he was also a huge devotee of the television series. "I used to watch the cartoon every day when I got home from school,” he says. "Who would have thought a cartoon you loved as a kid would end up being such a milestone in your life as a grown man? It's crazy how things happen.”

Gibson first heard about the project from his lawyer who also represents Michael Bay. Although the two had known each other socially, and had casually discussed the desire to work together at some point, neither the director nor the actor ever envisioned this particular project in their futures.

"On a personal level, Michael and I have good energy,” says Gibson. "He always said we'd figure something out, I just never thought it would be ‘TRANSFORMERS.' Originally I was playing a smaller role but after a conversation between Mike and Steven, it became a lot more substantial and I was able to have some input.”

Prior to beginning filming, Gibson went through a serious bout of the flu which kept him bedridden up until the time he met his fellow cast mates for basic training. Once he arrived at Fort Irwin's National Training Center just northeast of Barstow, California, he began the drills, but when he started to relapse, doctors forced him to miss the first three days of filming at Holloman. When Gibson rejoined Duhamel, Amaury Nolasco and the other members of the squad in the 120-degree heat of White Sands Missile Range, he slept whenever he could, but never escaped the teasing by his squad mates that can only come with the camaraderie of soldiers in arms.

"After all the warning and precautions I was given, I knew being out in the blazing sun in 120-degree heat wasn't the doctor's idea of taking care of myself, but I couldn't miss more than three days,” Gibson remembers. "It was crazy out there. I went home drained every night. But it was one of the best moments of my life and I wouldn't have missed it for anything. With everything we shot there, you could have made a whole movie, but it was just the beginning.”

As a Combat Controller, Sergeant Epps is one of the most highly trained personnel in the Air Force, and as a member of a Special Tactics Team that includes Captain Lennox (Josh Duhamel) and other several elite Army Rangers, he is responsible for leading those men into uncharted hostile territory, for reconnaissance, for establishing attack zones and to call in firepower should the need arise, along with a host of other duties too numerous to list. But most important, he and his fellow soldiers are the first line of defense when it comes to defending his country, her people and her allies.

To prepare for the role, Gibson spent time with an actual Combat Controller who was on leave after a tour in Iraq. In the Air Force for more than 20 years, Captain Ray Bollinger is a respected expert in his field and gave Gibson much of his technical dialogue for the desert sequences shot at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

"I communicate with all aircraft,” says Gibson who can still recite his team's site coordinates in his sleep, "The Blackhawks, stealth bombers, F22's, they're all on my wire. And it was a matter of running my lines with Ray because he knows the way it's supposed to sound; he knows the speed of it, the cadence. The English can sound like Chinese when you're speaking so fast, but once I became more comfortable in my character and understood what I was saying, it helped. I couldn't have rehearsed my lines with anyone but Ray.”

Spending time with Captain Bollinger and the Navy S.E.A.L.s who were cast as his team mates along with the many service men and women from Holloman, Fort Bliss and other<

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