At this point I’m not sure what’s better, the multiple extortion attempts on the Hong Kong set of Trans4mers, or Michael Bay’s accounts of those attempts, where reality is refracted through the lens through which Michael Bay sees the world, where everyone is a punk or a slut or a clown, and Michael Bay is a lionhearted action hero. The last time it happened, Bay told us how he fought off a guy who wanted money to stop throwing bricks at the set, and it took 15 policemen to take him down. Bay’s account even had product placement (“He actually bit into one of the guards Nike shoe, insane. Thank god it was an Air Max.”).
Today, there’s news of yet another extortion attempt. Who knew Hong Kong was so full of organized crime? Oh right, every Jackie Chan movie. Carry on.
A suspected triad member was in police custody last night after being arrested on suspicion of attempting to extort money from the crew of the fourth Transformers movie in To Kwa Wan.
It was the second attempt in five days to blackmail the Paramount Pictures crew during filming in Hong Kong. The incident was “ridiculous” and “more unusual than getting a jackpot”, said Hong Kong Directors Guild president Derek Yee Tung-sing.
Ah yes, those once-in-a-lifetime, twice-in-five-days extortion attempt. I like that he went straight for the gambling metaphor, that’s not going to perpetuate stereotypes. “I’m telling you, it was smokier than an opium den up there.
Police are looking for three other racketeers in connection with the latest case, which happened on the roof of a residential block in To Kwa Wan Road at about 2.30pm on Tuesday.
According to police, the four men allegedly approached and demanded money from the crew, who were checking the site at the time of the incident. The crew immediately called police.
Officers arrested a 35-year-old Hong Kong man but the other three men escaped. A police source said the man was a suspected triad member.
Yee, of the directors guild, said he hasn’t heard of any blackmail cases in the past few years.
Decades ago people would try to get money by throwing objects from a height during filming, he recalled. But after an attack on an auxiliary police officer during the filming of an RTHK production the police made a series of arrests and snuffed out similar crimes [SouthChinaMorningPost]
I love how it all sounds so sophisticated at first – Triads! Extortion! Racketeering! Blackmail! – and then you hear the specifics- “oh yeah, this guy was throwing bricks at us and said we had to pay him to stop.”
Here’s Michael Bay’s version:
I’m here to set the record straight again . . . my crew and I have been having a great time in Hong Kong despite what you may have read about us being “rocked by a second extortion attempt.” Totally untrue. A few bad dudes have definitely not ruined the experience. We shoot from sun up to sun down, and the local HK crew have become part of our on-set family. We’re in the middle of busy streets, in businesses, and even in people’s homes, and everyone we’ve met has been very accommodating and generous. It’s been a once in a lifetime experience we’d all consider doing again.
Weak, dude. No one wants to hear about how nice everyone was, and you not beating up a froth-mouthed zombie shoe biter who had to be taken down by 15 police. You’re slipping, Bay.