Megan Fox is taking a break from the toys to take the lead in new movie, Jennifer’s Body. Talking to Marshall Heyman, on a rainy set in Malibu, she discusses everything from her on-going teasing of Zac Efron, things that make her skin crawl, and her frustration at being told to just “Be Hot” by Michael Bay.
The drive to interview Megan Fox at her Wonderland photo shoot in the canyons of Malibu is long — more than an hour away from my West Hollywood apartment. I couldn’t be more excited. I listen to the new album by The Sounds on the way Megan, best known for her role as Mikaela Banes in Transformers, has garnered a reputation for being a loose cannon, an over the top interview subject who really speaks her mind. I love that. So often we get canned responses. Here’s someone who’s anything but.
When I finally get to the set and Megan, gorgeous of course, wearing a cut-off t-shirt, huge baggy sweatpants, flip-flops, and Ray Bans, drives up with her publicist, it begins to rain. So instead of having some time alone to chat, we are stuck in a trailer with the many people who are involved in producing the shoot (stylists, publicist, photographer, etc.) but we take over one side of the trailer and they stay out of our way.
Megan, who doesn’t take off her sunglasses for the entire interview, picks up a copy of Interview Magazine. One with a dewy cover photograph of Zac Efron, an individual she likes to make fun of, she says, with some regularity.
Megan Fox: “He’s beautiful. He’s the next Elizabeth Taylor. I’m just kidding. I just like to make fun of him. I know Zac. He knows that I make fun of him out of love. Everything I say in interviews I say to his face in person. I try it on him and get his reaction and then I say it publicly.
Marshall Heyman: SO YOU’VE TOLD HIM HE’S THE MALE ELIZABETH TAYLOR?
MF: I just came up with that, but I’ll tell him that in the future. This picture made me think of it. It was like White Diamonds.
Megan speaks nasally, like she has a chronic sinus infection. Her statements are often spoken in the form of a question. They tend to lilt upwards.
My younger brother, Andrew, is 24 and a major fan of the Transformers toys, though not the movie. Though he denies it now, he has often expressed an attraction to Megan Fox. I decided to ask him for some questions to ask Megan. The ones he sent me the night before my interview were especially funny — more audacious than ones I might normally start with — and so I went with them. (When I told him this later, he was embarrassed, but I knew, deep down, he was pleased.)
MH: I’M GOING TO START WITH SOME QUESTIONS MY BROTHER HAS FOR YOU. THE FIRST ONE: WHAT ARE YOUR MOST FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT WORKING WITH MICHAEL BAY?
MF: God, I really wish I could go loose on this one. He’s like Napoleon and he wants to create this insane, infamous mad man reputation. He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is. So he’s a nightmare to work for but when you get him away from set, and he’s not in director mode, I kind of really enjoy his personality because he’s so awkward, so hopelessly awkward. He has no social skills at all. And it’s endearing to watch him. He’s vulnerable and fragile in real life and then on set he’s a tyrant. Shia and I almost die when we make a Transformers movie. He has you do some really insane things that insurance would never let you do.
MH: SO IT’S A BIG DIFFERENCE FROM YOUR TELEVISION SERIES HOPE AND FAITH?
Megan laughs. The first of many big guffaws during our interview. It pleases me to no end that I can make one of the hottest women in the world laugh. Repeatedly.
MF: It’s a big difference from that.
MH: IS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT HOPE AND FAITH THAT’S THE SAME?
MF: Other than there’s always a tiny blonde around?
MH: HERE’S ANOTHER ONE FROM ANDREW. HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT PRESENTING WITH MICHAEL BAY AT THE MTV MOVIE AWARDS?
MF: I hate being looked at. And when I’m on stage it’s clear that I’m being stared at by everyone and that’s my worst nightmare. My only goals when I go on stage are to not vomit, trip or have uncontrollable diarrhoea. If I accomplish those three things, I don’t care what else happens.
MH: HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN A SITUATION WHEN YOU VOMIT, TRIP OR HAVE UNCONTROLLABLE DIARRHEA?
MF (Laughing): No but I get really paranoid that something horrible is going to happen.
MH: DID MICHAEL BAY COMFORT YOU THIS TIME?
MF: He’s such a cherub of a man. He was backstage stroking my hair and comforting me. Of course not. He gets nervous too. He doesn’t like being in front of people.
MH: BACK TO A QUESTION FROM ANDREW. WHAT’S THE SEXIEST TRANSFORMER?
MF: Megatron. Cause he’s the leanest and sleekest and he’s bad. And that’s sexy.
MH: IF YOU HAD YOUR OWN TRANSFORMER WHAT WOULD YOU CALL IT?
MF: Oh my god. I have no idea. It’s too early to be that creative. I have nothing. I’m dead.
MH: IT’S GOING TO BE A ROUGH HOUR. ANOTHER QUESTION FROM ANDREW. WHO WOULD WIN IN A FIGHT: OPTIMUS PRIME OR MICHAEL BAY?
MF: I would win in a fight with Michael Bay. Because he’s never been in a fight in his life. If Michael Bay ever was in a fight, he would drop to the ground immediately in the fetal position. He would never throw a punch. That man is not a fighter. He’s all hot air. So Optimus Prime would win.
MH: WHAT’S A MORE POWERFUL SECRET WEAPON: THE AUTOBOT MATRIX OF LEADERSHIP OR MICHAEL BAY’S EGO?
MF: Is your brother in, like, film school or something? How does he know about this? If you could combine Michael Bay’s ego with Brett Ratner’s ego, then that’s unstoppable. But if it’s just Bay’s ego than I’m going to go with the Autobot Matrix of Leadership.
MH: HERE’S THE LAST ONE FROM MY BROTHER. DO YOU THINK SHIA IS SEXIER AS MUTT WILLIAMS IN INDIANA JONES OR AS SAM WITWICKY IN TRANSFORMERS?
MF: Sam Witwicky. Because I like boys that don’t try. Sam’s a little bit neurotic and doesn’t have it all together. I like funny boys. And Shia was too buff when he did Indy. Brian [Austin Green, her on-again, off-again boyfriend] is a lot buffer than Shia. He’s not a wimpy dude. He’s got a naturally badass body. He doesn’t even work out that much. He naturally has that 2 per cent body fat. His body is one of the best I’ve ever seen.
MH: DO YOU WORK OUT?
MF: I trained a lot as a kid dancing. Mostly ballet so I have a lot of muscle memory. Even when I don’t work out I look relatively in shape. I’m getting older, I know that sounds stupid because I’m 23, but I can feel things changing already. I’m trying to be healthy and have a healthy life and work out twice a week. I’m supposed to make three times but I usually only make twice.
MH: WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU WORK OUT?
MF: My trainer’s a fucking Nazi. He does a million squats and lunges and like asymmetric balance shit, which makes me almost throw up every time I do it. And then we finish or start with yoga, which I hate equally as much. And I do it for one hour.
MH: YOU HAVE A SICK BODY FOR SOMEONE WHO WORKS OUT FOR TWO HOURS A WEEK.
MF: But it’s like a navy seal work out twice a week. I go until I almost throw up. I’ve gone back home and thrown up from being worked out too hard. It’s not fun.
MH: DO YOU WATCH WHAT YOU EAT?
MF: Recently I’ve started eating a lot better. I went to Hawaii by myself and went on a raw diet and I’m trying to keep up on it here. I have a bad sweet tooth and I eat tons of unbaked things. Dough. Fudge. Brownie mix. Cake mix. To the point where you think you have salmonella. I don’t know if I’ve ever had uncontrollable diarrhea but it’s a constant fear. It must mean something in my childhood.
MH: WHAT ARE YOUR OTHER CONSTANT FEARS?
MF: Flying. I can’t stand to touch newspapers. Anything laminated is fine. Actual dry ass paper I can’t touch. It gives me chillbumps. It’s like nails on a chalkboard. Ughh. Or like tissue paper. People can’t touch me with dry things like that. I get really upset. It’s something about how dry it is that I can’t touch it. Those are my main fears.
MH: DO YOU HAVE ANY REAL FEARS?
MF: You mean, like dying alone? I do have a fear of ending up like Elizabeth Taylor in the sense that I will have been married 8 times and this senile insane borderline personality schizoid when I’m 80, still drawing on my eyebrows.
MH: DO YOU THINK THAT WILL HAPPEN TO ZAC EFRON?
MF: No! He’s going to be all right.
MH: YOU DON’T THINK HE’S GOING TO BE DRAWING ON HIS EYEBROWS OR MAKING FRAGRANCES LIKE WHITE DIAMONDS?
MF: Me and Shia came up with a fragrance for Zac Efron. It’s called: It’s So Right it’s Efrong.
MH: WHAT DOES IT SMELL LIKE?
MF: That’s a very good question. Like midnight and sapphires. Like a musky breeze.
In Megan’s new teen horror movie, Jennifer’s Body, written by Academy Award winning screenwriter Diablo Cody, she plays a high school cheerleader who becomes a zombie and starts, quite literally, eating men.
MH: HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE CHARACTER YOU PLAY?
MF: I think she’s hilarious. When she’s feeding on a boy, she’s really healthy and beautiful. And when she goes without having a boy or a man she gets hideous and ugly. And I feel like that’s how women think. They think they need men to complete them and to make them feel beautiful, and they’re old hags and useless without a boyfriend or a husband.
I suggest that maybe the film perpetuates the opposite point of view.
MF: Who fucking really knows what the movie’s about? Diablo’s so twisted but it’s obviously a girl power movie in itself. I think it’s really about how fucked up and scary girls are. Girls are fucking nightmares.
MH: WHY DOESN’T YOUR CHARACTER SEEK REVENGE ON THE ADAM BRODY CHARACTER THAT TURNS HER INTO A ZOMBIE?
MF: There was a debate. We were going to maybe shoot that at the ending and they wouldn’t let us extend the budget. Look, I didn’t write the movie, I’m not a studio head, I get what you’re saying. I definitely would have wanted to see her destroy Adam Brody but that doesn’t happen.
MH: DO YOU ASPIRE TO MAKE MOVIES THAT ARE NOT JUST FOR FANBOYS? LIKE THE READER? OR REVOLUTIONARY ROAD?
MF: If I get to the point where I could pull something like that off, then sure I would never turn that down, but I’m not going through scripts looking for the one that will hopefully get me nominated. I’m really not pretentious in my thinking. I’m really more afraid of it now than aggressively pursuing it. Kate Winslet has had a lot of time to go to acting class and be coached and really find the truth in stuff so she can do The Reader or do Revolutionary Road. She didn’t come off of Transformers and make that movie. I think everyone aspires to getting your work recognized critically, but if I can ever get there it’ll take time. I’m not ready to jump into it right now.
MH: DO YOU WANT TO PLAY ELIZABETH BENETT IN PRIDE AND PREJUDICE?
MF: I hate watching period pieces. I can’t watch Pride and Prejudice.
MH: BUT IF THEY DID PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES?
MF: Fuck yeah that sounds like the best movie ever.
MH: WAS MAKING CONFESSIONS OF A DRAMA QUEEN WITH LINDSAY LOHAN MORE EMBARRASSING THAN BEING IN THE MARY KATE AND ASHLEY OLSEN MOVIE HOLIDAY IN THE SUN?
MF: Holiday in the Sun is less embarrassing because it went straight to DVD and I was in 9th grade so I didn’t give a shit. I was like fuck yeah, I get to get out of school and go to the Bahamas. They’re not really embarrassing movies. Everybody does them. I don’t have bad dreams about shit that happened in the past. I have bad dreams about things that are coming out all the time. Like right before Transformers comes out, I’ll have months of nightmares about things that we spent months filming and know that it’s not going to work in the movie. Moments that we thought would be funny jokes or that are going to be sheer terror and I just know I didn’t sell it at all. It’s a $286 million movie but the money can’t control the acting. There’s no amount of money that can make you a better actor.
MH: WELL, I WONDER: DOES BEING A BETTER ACTOR MATTER IF YOU’RE JUST REALLY HOT?
MF: Yeah, it does matter. Not to Michael Bay because those are literally his directions some times. “Be Hot.” I’ve had that note on set before. “Mike,” I’ll say, “Who am I talking to? Where am I supposed to be looking at?” And he responds, “Just be sexy.” I get mad when people talk to me like that. Then again, audiences don’t come to Transformers to see us. They’re there to see the devastation and the explosions. I don’t want to shit on the movie, it’s a fun movie. People tend to think that I hate it and I don’t, because clearly none of us should take it seriously. That movie is clearly the reason I’m recognizable at all.
MH: WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU WERE HOT?
MF: I don’t think that’s something that normal people ever realize. As a female, you struggle with constant insecurities and body image. So there’s never a day you wake up and think, “I really did it today. This is a hot day.” That doesn’t happen.
MH: HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT MICHAEL BAY TELLING YOU TO BE HOT?
MF: All of us who are working right now, we all do the same shit, it’s just part of how you sell yourself. Because you’re a product. All of us are. Shia’s a product, a totally different kind. Rob Pattinson is a fucking product. It’s what the industry’s always been.
MH: IS BEING CANDID AND LOOSE PART OF YOUR PRODUCT?
MF: That’s me sort of fighting being a product, that’s me fighting the machine. But of course, now part of my product is being outrageous and outspoken so even when I’m not being that way I’m going to be sold that way. To fight that I could be PR perfect and be one full publicity android and only say the right things. Maybe that’s what I’ll do. It’s a never ending game and this is how people go insane and get addicted to pills. One thing I do hate is being involved in catfights that are not real catfights. One that’s deserved is ok.
MH: CAN YOU IMAGINE A CAGE MATCH BETWEEN YOU AND ZAC EFRON?
MF: Fuck yeah, I’m on board.
MH: WHO WOULD WIN?
MF: Should I ask him? I don’t know if he’ll be awake but I’ll try right now. That’s a really good one.
Megan has two bars of service on her Iphone and texts — or at least tells me she texts – Efron
MF: In a dance off, he would kill me. In a cage match, I gotta go with me. I have bigger shoulder muscles. I’m grittier. I wear bigger pants. He’s going to think I’m such a loser. Because it’s 11 in the morning and I’m asking him who would win in a cage match. He’s perfect, he always says the right shit. He’s extremely charismatic. His publicist goes to bed in heaven. She has no worries in her life at all. Whereas my publicist — look at her — she has to do a fucking placenta mask every morning to get rid of those dark circles under her eyes.
MH: DO YOU SEND HER PLACENTA MASKS?
MF: No, but I’m going to start.
MH: HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE PEOPLE BEING OBSESSED WITH YOU? ARE YOU ENJOYING IT?
MF: No, because I don’t enjoy being looked at. But that’s part of being successful, doing magazine covers. It’s very masochistic – the one thing you’re so afraid of you become addicted to. I’m addicted to being uncomfortable.
MH: YOU HAVE THIS PUSH AND PULL BETWEEN WANTING FAME AND NOT WANTING FAME
MF: I think most people have that. I can’t imagine someone just waking up and saying, I’m so glad I’m famous. Like I can’t wait to go outside and get photographed today. I’m going to put on my cute scarf and my special vest. I’m sure they do it, but I don’t know anyone who’s like that.
MH: WHAT DO YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING THINKING?
MF: I don’t know what my first thoughts in the morning are. I usually go weigh myself. I’m fascinated by how much your weight can change in a day. It can change like five pounds over night. I’m not afraid of what I weigh, I just find it fascinating that I can weigh 106 one day and the next day 109. All because I ate some saltine crackers.
MH: ARE YOU A BIG READER?
MF: Yes. I read a lot of real depressing shit. I kind of read everything I can get my hands on. Right now I’m reading Delicate Edible Birds. I just finished a book called Love Sick. And then I basically read every book ever written about Marilyn Monroe.
MH: WHAT MAKES YOU OBSESSED WITH HER?
MF: I don’t know why I’m so obsessed, I just am, and if I’m going to have her tattooed on my arm, it’s sort of my job to know as much about her as possible.
MH: DOES IT COME FROM ANY ANXIETY ABOUT WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO YOU?
MF: Sure. That’s definitely a thing. I could end up like that because I constantly struggle with the idea that I think I’m a borderline personality. Or that I have bouts of mild schizophrenia. I definitely have some kind of mental problem and I haven’t pinpointed what it is. I feel like I could easily go in that direction and I need to know everything there is to know about it because I feel like it’ll keep it from happening to me. I don’t like to call it an obsession. Anna Nicole Smith had an obsession with Marilyn Monroe. I like to call it a deep-seated interest.
MH: OH, LIKE ME AND BOB FOSSE. WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS? FOR WHERE YOUR CAREER MIGHT TAKE YOU?
MF: I feel like I’d be really good at playing someone with a psychosis, a real deep mentally ill person.
MH: WHAT ABOUT OTHER LIFE GOALS? DO YOU WANT TO GET MARRIED? HAVE KIDS? RULE A KINGDOM?
MF: I would love to create a kingdom. I would love to breed my own – not superior race – but I would breed children and I would train them each in a special skill. One would be trained in the art of nunchucks.
MH: KIND OF LIKE KUNG FU PANDA?
MF: Or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I have to find someone who’s naturally physically agile, a really good athlete.
MH: AND THAT’S NOT BRIAN AUSTIN GREEN?
MF: I don’t know if he would be down with making our kids train nunchucks from birth to 18. I don’t know if he wants to create an army.
MH: YOU HAVEN’T TALKED ABOUT THAT WITH HIM?
MF: No. He thinks I’m a ridiculous person. He doesn’t like talking about this kind of thing.
MH: I FEEL LIKE THIS COULD TURN INTO A MOVIE.
MF: It could turn into a movie. We’re writing it right now.
MH: WELL I BETTER GET A CO-PRODUCER CREDIT
Megan laughs, which suggests I won’t quite get a co-producer credit. Her publicist comes over to break up our fun. “Are you done?” she asks. “You could go on and on, I know. It’s fun, right?” I return to Megan’s idea for a movie. “I really feel like we’ve cracked on a hundred million dollar idea,” but she’s already on to answering my question seriously.
MF: I do want to have kids one day. But I don’t want to be an old mom. I’d like to do it before 25. So maybe in 2 years. I always feel like I’ll freak out once I get pregnant. I’m ok with other people’s diarrhea, I just don’t want to have mine publicly.
Photography: Mariano Vivanco
Fashion: Anthony Unwin
Words: Marshall Heyman
A full version of this article first appeared in Wonderland #19, Sep/Oct 2009