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TRANSFORMERS

The Action/Stunts
"I never imagined myself in an action film of this magnitude,” says LaBeouf. "Not that I'm giving myself kudos, but 90 percent of the actors I know could not have done what Megan and I did in this film. I mean there are action stars who wouldn't have been as dumb,” he laughs, "hanging off the roof of a 15-story building from a single wire with nothing below but the asphalt alley. It was insane!”

Bay's excitement and enthusiasm for monstrously large stunts seems to infect the entire cast every time. Sooner or later, on every film, actors find themselves agreeing to participate in acrobatics and physical feats they would never normally envision themselves attempting.

Even 60-something Jon Voight loved what he calls "the physicality of his role.” Similar to the rest of the cast, Voight hit the ground running when need be and literally hit the floor as well. In one scene when his character is seriously injured, Voight shocked the crew when he threw himself to the cement floor of the soundstage as though he'd actually been shot by a stray bullet.

"He kept pace with every 20-year-old on the movie,” says Michael Bay.

"I think Jon was trying to sell it a little hard,” says Anthony Anderson, "making us younger guys look bad. Michael would look at Tyrese and me and say, ‘Look, if Jon can run down there, you can run there!' I'd tell Jon, ‘Relax, you could break a hip,'” he jokes.

"It's like playing when you're a kid,” says Voight. "When I was growing up, I liked physical comedy and I'm still amazed when I see people do anything extraordinarily physical. But you get shot, you fall on the ground. The only shocking thing is that I'm a little old to be playing at this kind of stuff, but I really like it. I'd hear the guys say, ‘Hey, did you see that?' and I'd tell them, ‘Guys, I'm not gone yet, I'm still in the game here.' I mean we're not Cirque du Soleil.”

LaBeouf landed the role of Sam Witwicky while he was shooting DreamWorks' "Disturbia.” At the time, he weighed 130 pounds but despite the action of the blockbuster thriller, the young actor needed to strengthen his body in preparation for this next job. He began working out five days a week for three months and gained 25 pounds of solid muscle by the time he arrived on set in New Mexico. His first evening, LaBeouf spent the night being chased by guard dogs around a dilapidated lumber mill. He quickly realized that his training, which had focused on building bulk and mass, was not what he needed. His role required stamina and speed. "It was all running. I should have been doing calisthenics. And there's the pain tolerance,” he laughs. "That's not something you can train for.”

Actress Megan Fox swears that she gained 10 pounds of solid muscle during production from all the running and strength training the role required, and she gives the camera crew special accolades for keeping up with the pace. "They really deserve a lot of credit,” Fox says, "for being able to follow us the way they did. They'd give us general directions where to run and we'd head where we were told, but it's almost impossible to hit exact marks on a movie like this.”

LaBeouf calls co-producer/stunt coordinator/second unit director Ken Bates a savior. "He's the only reason I am alive,” LaBeouf jokes.

Bates disagrees. "Shia was very focused,” he says. "He's a strong, agile kid and he's smart. He pays attention and follows directions well, and he has respect for what we do, which really contributed to his being able to handle his own stunts.”

When Bay extended a challenge to LaBeouf to perform his own stunt at the top of the building, he knew his young star would never turn down the offer. To prepare LaBeouf, Bates put him on a wire to give him a feel for the system and had him walk a small para

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