“I love Shia to death,” said Megan Fox to Moviefone in Toronto over the weekend. “I love him unconditionally.” Those don’t sound like the words of someone who has been “hit hard,” as Fox said, by the principal players associated with ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ — the summer blockbuster that very famously didn’t feature the former franchise co-star. While Shia LaBeouf and Michael Bay piled on during the press rounds for ‘Transformers,’ Fox remained silent. That’s about to change.
In a way, Megan Fox is trying to start over, and her role in the new indie ensemble comedy ‘Friends With Kids’ — which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival — is an interesting choice. Fox is well aware of her image as a pin-up girl — she refers to her own public image as “a robot” — and is media savvy enough to know that that image hasn’t always been a hindrance. Moviefone spoke to a candid and engaging Fox in Toronto about ‘Friends With Kids’ (she plays Mary Jane, Adam Scott’s younger girlfriend in the new comedy), her public image, the beating she’s taken in the press, and why she didn’t defend herself. And, yes, she revealed if she’s seen ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon.’
Moviefone: I literally just walked out of ‘Friends With Kids.’ I haven’t had any time to write questions and I can’t even read my notes.
Megan Fox: They’re really sloppy. You have very sloppy handwriting. That’s indicative of something.
Like, what’s this word?
What would that even mean? Why would I write down “pun”?
I’m not sure.
Anyway … we’ll see how this goes.
That’s like a psychiatric emphasis of when you post just random words — free write. Then you read it and you’re like, “Wow, what is wrong with me?”
I liked your movie.
You know what I liked about it? Your character is not a jerk.
That’s true. She’s not a jerk. I mean, she’s not super-sweet, either, but she’s not a jerk or an assh*le. That wouldn’t fit with Adam’s character. They just wouldn’t make sense.
Was that important for you? I mean, I never once thought, Why would he ever be with her? She’s mean.
Yes, that was the idea. We didn’t want Mary Jane to be mean. I’ve never actually played a mean character — well, besides Jennifer in ‘Jennifer’s Body,’ who hates men. But, yeah, obviously Adam is so fun to watch and he’s so likable, you wouldn’t want to see Adam with someone who is mean to him for a second. You would hate that person because he’s just so wonderful. So it’s just more that she was there at two different points in their life.
Looking at your career, I feel this is a very good role for you. Let me preface that by saying that I have no idea what I’m talking about.
People have said that before. I get what you’re saying — I think I get what you’re saying.
This role seems to …
Makes me seem human?
I wouldn’t put it that way. But after the kerfuffles of the past, you are playing a normal person in this as part of an ensemble. Does that make sense?
Was that your plan?
I always want to be a part of ensembles. Besides it feeling safer, I think it’s a more fun environment to work in. To have a bunch of people collaborating on something, it takes the pressure off of each individual. Aside from Jen, obviously who wrote and directed and is starring in it. She had to carry the burden on her shoulders. But I think these films have turned out to be the most enjoyable to work on … for me.
It’s interesting that you said “feel more human.” Explain that.
That’s the reviews I took from my inner circle. That’s how they phrase it. I just think the idea is that because most of the way that people have seen me, it’s the glorified pin-up girl with motorcycle boots who is also fighting to save the world. It’s not necessarily someone who you connect with because they’re not real people necessarily who exist like that — the glossy lips in the middle of the desert. In ‘Jennifer’s Body’ I was this crazy — it’s this wonderful Diablo Cody script, but it’s so kooky and so weird and I was eating people. It’s just a very strange movie. You don’t necessarily see the human side of whoever is playing that person. And I just think the media, in general, I just don’t really get portrayed as someone who has feelings or who is sympathetic. Or I sort of am portrayed as this — I feel — like a self-absorbed ice queen. Maybe. And I think the people who see me in a role that allows me to be more human — I don’t know another word to use to describe it — is why people are saying it’s a good move to have done.
It’s also interesting that you said that you think people don’t think you have feelings. But that whole image, is that a help or a hindrance for you?
It’s both, at times. I mean, sometimes I feel like it’s a help because you can pretend that you just have this shield around you at all times. For the most part I’m really strong with how much bullsh*t I had piled upon me for so long. But, you know, I care about people. I care about my life and I love people. I’m not this robot. I feel people think I’m almost like a robot — like an android. And that I’m all about me and my thoughts are all about me. That I want to be famous. I know one thing I’ve heard a lot is, “Does she say the things that she says because she wants attention? It’s attention-seeking.” But I always felt like, if that were the case, wouldn’t I display some sort of attention-seeking behavior, which I’ve never done. I’ve always tried to live a really normal, private, quiet life. So I just think I’ve always really allowed room for the media to sort of chop my words and put their own narrative on it and create this salacious sound bite that goes everywhere. And because of that I feel like people just have no idea what I’m like or who I am. I feel like it’s a mystery. Which is OK.
Is that really a bad thing?
It could be a good thing. But obviously there are times when you struggle with it because being misunderstood 90 percent of the time is difficult because you want to clarify. But you deal with it.
With the recent Shia Labeouf interview and the ‘Transformers’ situation, why didn’t you clarify or defend yourself?
I didn’t want to talk about it while they’re on the press tour because I didn’t want to try to throw mud at them. I didn’t want that movie to suffer. Especially because I love Shia. I wanted that movie to do well for him. I didn’t want to have this big media war over something that really was so silly and it would have just been my ego needing to engage in a war, at that point. Of course, there will be a time when I want to tell my side of the story. I just don’t feel it was appropriate while they were promoting the movie.
Are you saying that was a no-win situation?
Right. Like, “She’s trying to take away from the movie.” So it was best to let them say what they were going to say. It’s fine.
With everything that happened with the ‘Transformers 3′ situation with you …
With what you read in the press.
Well, yes. And I get why you wouldn’t be happy, but at the same time I’d kind of want to know how the story, the movie itself, ends. Did you see ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’?
I haven’t seen it yet, but I will see it. I mean, if they hadn’t been hitting me so hard on the press tour, I would have gone to the theater. But I felt like that would have been a disaster: Me sitting with a packed theater of people watching the movie. So I didn’t go. I mean, I have nothing against watching it. And I love Shia to death; I love him unconditionally. And I love that crew. I’m really close to the hair, makeup and wardrobe that made that movie. I want to see it for them. I know it looked amazing in the trailer. Out of all three trailers, that was the trailer that I was like, “Wow, sh*t, this is a huge movie.” So I think it will be an interesting, fun thing to watch, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.
I’m picturing the blog headlines, “Megan Fox Watches ‘Transformers’!”
I couldn’t do it. Then that would turn into not just me wanting to see the movie, that would have been like, “She’s trying to take attention from the movie by being at the theater when it’s released.” It’s a lose-lose. So I’ll just watch it on Netflix back home.
You brought up a good point earlier about the fact that, other than your interviews, you’ve stayed out of the spotlight. So why do you think it’s sensationalized?
Why do they sensationalize my comments?
No, why do they sensationalize your life?
[Sighs] That’s a question I sit and I ponder often. And journalists sit with me and I’m always like this with whomever I talk to. That’s sort of the most … like the feeling of betrayal — that you have as a celebrity or an actor or entertainer — I think comes from meeting with journalists and feeling like, Hey, I had a good conversation with you, then you read the article and it’s like, Wow! Well, that’s not the angle that I thought you were going to take. You need to sell this magazine, I understand, but, sh*t, I just didn’t realize it was going to go in that direction. So you have to become a little bit jaded with press in that sense. You have to just guard yourself, because you never know what people are going to do. Like I said, I used to have a lot of fun in interviews — I’d be playful, I’d be sarcastic. But there’s too much room for someone to take what I was saying and cut it up, rearrange it, and throw it on ‘Extra.’ It’s insane. You have to be really strong. You have to just shut yourself off to the criticism at some point.
So people keep trying to beat me down. I thought about that the other day, that I feel like people have tried so hard to break me … and I won’t break. So they just keep trying.
So is ‘Friends With Kids’ a calculated move? So people will stop thinking of you in this way?
I definitely think it helps with doing other comedies. I mean, from working with Jen [Westfeldt] and Jon [Hamm] and everyone involved, Judd [Apatow] called them to ask, “Hey, what was she like on set? How was it? How was the experience?” Because they had a good experience with me, that caused Judd to want to put me in his movie. So it’s opened doors that way. I love working on comedy film sets. They have been the most wonderful experiences and they are nice, kind, fun people. So it’s a genre I like to be in.
And you finished filming ‘The Dictator.’
It’s done. And it’s going to be funny. I mean, I’m not saying my stuff, but the movie. And Sacha is great in it.
So is this your future — comedies?
[Laughs] We’ll see.