Ramon Rodriguez will have bigger role in Transformers3?
Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 11:44am CDTCategories: Movie Related News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Dead Metal Views: 43,592
Rodriguez played the character of Sam's college room-mate "Leo Spitz".
Read the article by clicking here.
How big will "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" get? The movie was closing in on $400 million on Monday, a number that surprised even some of the people at Paramount Pictures. We've had tons of coverage on the film, which is breaking records at the box office, and we're not done yet. Here's a longer version of the Los Angeles Times Calendar story I have in today's paper on one of the new faces in Hollywood, Ramon Rodriguez, who plays Leo Spitz in the No. 1 movie in America right now. A lot of people are expecting big things from Ramon in the future, including Michael Bay, who hinted to me that the third film in the franchise will have a meatier role for the new cast member.
Ramon Rodriguez in Transformers Revenge of the Fallen
It turns out that filmmaker Michael Bay runs an audition a lot like he makes movies.
Last year, Ramon Rodriguez visited Bay’s Santa Monica offices seeking a key role in “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” and, instead of a sedate line-reading, the young actor was told to basically run for his life.
“For 90 minutes, he had me jumping, running, diving over the furniture in his office -- that was the audition,” said Rodriguez, who was adept enough to land the role of Shia LaBeouf’s sidekick in the biggest movie of the year. “I was drenched in sweat. He told me, ‘OK, hide behind the desk!’ ‘Now, run over here!’ And man, I was looking in his eyes, and he was enjoying it. He’s got a passion for action. It shows in the movies too.”
Critics may cringe, but audiences are feeling it: “Revenge of the Fallen,” as of Monday, was closing in on $400 million worldwide. That's a staggering number, and the domestic gross, $201 million, fell just short of the five-day record of $203 million set last year by “The Dark Knight.”
It’s been dizzying to watch from a distance, but it’s an especially wild ride for newcomer Rodriguez, whose career surged this summer with the “Transformers” role as well as his work in Tony Scott’s “The Taking of Pelham 123,” which put him side by side with Denzel Washington and John Travolta.
“I’m coming out of nowhere this summer,” Rodriguez said on recent bright afternoon on a basketball court in Studio City. “At least that’s how it seems to people. It feels that way to me sometimes too. And it’s been a major education.”
For Rodriguez, this summer is the equivalent of a half-court shot that hits nothing but net.
The actor, who grew up on Manhattan’s lower east side but also spent much of his youth in his family’s native Puerto Rico, was a college and prep-school basketball star but didn’t have the height needed to achieve his NBA dream.
After picking up a sports-management degree at New York University, he was working for the New York Knicks in their community relations department but hating it. “You would think I would love it, but working for a team that’s losing is just no fun,” he said. “It was so gray, so dark, there were layoffs and turmoil."
Transformers Revenge of the Fallen cast with Michael Bay
A friend coaxed him to enter a Nike basketball-trick competition and, with the lure of a free pair of sneakers, a disinterested Rodriguez agreed. He ended up winning by spinning a ball, putting it on the tip of a pen and then gripping the pen with his teeth without interrupting the revolving ball.
It was a heck of a trick: It led to the ballplayer joining the Nike freestyle team and a tour of Asia and Europe as a sort of latter-day Harlem Globetrotter. At NBA games, Rodriguez performed in front of stars he had hoped would be his peers.
“They were checking us at halftime, I could see out of the corner of my eye that they were smiling,” he said. “We got paid, we traveled, people cheered. And then there’s another thing: When you’re the halftime show, you never lose.”
His work in Nike commercials gave him a foothold in a new sector: acting. That path became more than a lark in 2005 when Rodriguez had an eye-catching, two-episode guest appearance on “Rescue Me,” FX's firehouse drama, in which he played a young man who had been molested by a priest.
“The firefighters went to the priest and at the end of the story arc, in front of everyone, I kill myself,” Rodriguez said. “I put a gun to my head in the middle of the church. I was finding out what it meant to be an actor.”
Transformers Revenge of the Fallen
Rodriguez then immersed himself in acting studies even as he did an eight-episode run on “The Wire” in the role of Renaldo, the dangerous lover of stick-up man Omar Little. Next was Rodriguez’s memorable turn in Alejandro Gomez Monteverde’s “Bella,” the 2006 film that won the people’s choice award at the Toronto International Film Festival.
That set the stage for “Transformers,” which allowed Rodriguez to get in touch with his youth – he used to watch the cartoon series while munching on sugary cereal. The role of the fast-talking Princeton freshman Leonardo Ponce De Leon Spitz – who is the new college roommate to LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky — makes Rodriguez the comic relief in the film about giant alien robots.
Director Michael Bay has a third "Transformers" film in mind, and if it plays out as he expects, the next installment would have a more substantial role for Rodriguez. The filmmaker, speaking at his office a few weeks before "Revenge of the Fallen" was released, seemed to have some pride of discovery when talking about Rodriguez.
"I've worked with big stars, people like Will Smith, Sean Connery and Bruce Willis, but casting is a weird thing, it takes you places you don’t expect," Bay said. "We went looking for a sidekick in this movie, Shia’s sidekick, and we find this new kid who really pops on screen. I think he’s going to have a real bright career. It’s great to work with big stars, but it’s always fun to discover people."
Bay said the actor is a mix of rough charm and refined intellect.
"He’s got a street edge and a realness to him," said the director, whose past films include "The Rock" and "Bad Boys.” "He’s a New York kid with a street feel to him. He adapted to the actors very well, which isn’t always easy in a big movie, a sequel, where a lot of the cast chemistry has been set already. He’s funny, charming, comes off cool and accessible.”
Rodriguez is eager to diversify his résumé and do arty films and ensemble pieces as well as the huge summer fare. But he said, no matter what comes next, he won’t soon forget this summer.
“It was the full deal: I remember flying to Egypt to climb the Pyramids … and then taking a Blackhawk helicopter to Petra to shoot there,” he said. “We shot on an aircraft carrier. I mean, all of it, it was just mind-blowing. I got my shot and, man, it was a good one.”
-- Geoff Boucher
Stay tuned to seibertron.com for all your Transformers related news!
Credit(s): Real Devastator, Robinson, LA Times
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Posted by Dinobot Prime on June 30th, 2009 @ 11:59am CDT
Posted by MYoung23 on June 30th, 2009 @ 12:16pm CDT
Posted by YRQRM0 on June 30th, 2009 @ 12:23pm CDT
Posted by Megatron Wolf on June 30th, 2009 @ 12:39pm CDT
Posted by T-Macksimus on June 30th, 2009 @ 12:50pm CDT
As for Rodriguez, I think he did well in the part as it was written for him. This is what irritates me about people who rag on a character in a film. If they wind up hating a character, they transfer that to the actor, for whatever shortsighted reason, when the reality is that if you had that strong of an emotional response then the actor must have done his job well. I'm sure Ramon is nothing like Leo in real life (that much you can see in his eyes because that was the only unconvinceing aspect for me) and for the most part I thought he did well and I enjoyed the interplay with him and the Twins. Seeing his charcater in TF3, now that his reality has been shot to hell and he has had his "Trial by Fire" as it were, should actually be rather fun. I'll bet Leo will be a bit mellower in some respects, at least until he gets more comfortable being around the Autobots and accepts that he now has a permanent bullseye on his chest just for being friends with them and Sam. Oh, and they need to leave his crotch out if it next time around. That aspect wasn't really that amusing the first time let alone the third.
Posted by DevastaTTor on June 30th, 2009 @ 12:56pm CDT
YRQRM0 wrote:I liked his character alright, but he had too much comic relief. He turned too many of the action scenes into comedy scenes wih his outbursts and stuff. Shia on the other hand keeps things more serious with his scenes. I know it's not their choice of which lines to say, but still.
I thought this movie was supposed to be darker, with less humor. If anything, it had more (too much). Leo's outbursts/crying and the Twins calling him a pu$$y were driving me nuts after a while. Word of more RR in the next film already scares me.
Posted by Prime's Trailer on June 30th, 2009 @ 1:06pm CDT
Posted by RodimalToyota on June 30th, 2009 @ 1:11pm CDT
The Movie would have been great if..
Shia got less Panicky ADD type moments.
Turturro Got more time to speak Period
Fox had no lines what so ever and was just used more for TNA shots.
Rodriguez was good on his own.
Posted by Swiftknife24 on June 30th, 2009 @ 1:13pm CDT
On the subject of #3, I have a few ideas!
Extend both Jolt and Ratchet's roles - They had so little screen time. Jolt needs some lines, as well. Give him some good lines and develop his character. (Ratchet was even more underused in #2! As if his role was short enough in #1!)
Sideswipe - One word; MORE!
Give Soundwave a decent amount of action - As awesome as he was, he was missing out on the action, below! (I bet he was seething.) And bring him to Earth, too.
Unicron - Enough said.
The basic story could be that the Decepticons are really pissed because of their second defeat. As it happens, Unicron is approaching; Megatron makes a deal with Unicron and Soundwave tells Unicron of the humans' dependence on everything electronic. Soundwave then disables everything on Earth (as his toy bio suggests) and bring the continents to a standstill; global disruption (think 'Live Free or Die Hard', but bigger), so that Unicron can make an easy meal of Earth. The only thing standing in their way is a dedicated team of Autobots, as they try to get everything back up and running (hence, Jolt's role can be enlarged, instantly).
And then you have a basic underlying structure which would be centred around 'opposites':
Introduce Prowl - in his police car, he'd be a match for Barricade and it'd clear up Barricade's role.
Introduce Nemesis Prime - Optimus' evil twin (so I believe...don't stab me with an Energon Axe, I'm fairly new! lol) and stick him in a Kenworth Truck; I have a photo of a sweet Kenworth cab and it looks so deliciously evil. Perfect match for Optimus.
Soundwave's Earth form - Possibly an F-35; basically an F-22 that hovers (if you know your Lockheed Martins), so he'd be a direct negative to Starscream (seeing as how Starscream is very deceptive behind Megatron's back and Soundwave is one of his most loyal soldiers).
Guys, I would start a new board on this subject, but like I say, I'm fairly new, so I thought a topic mentioning #3 would be a good way to get my ideas across!
Posted by Pontimax 01 on June 30th, 2009 @ 1:17pm CDT
I guess I found him an ironic character. Here he runs this conspiracy website about the transformers, and then he gets put smack into the middle of the story and doesn't handle it well. I found that extremely satisfying. I tend to believe that most of these conspiracy nutjobs out there wouldn't know what to do if they actually turned out to be right in such a way as Leo was.
I'd like to see what happens next for him. Maybe wander aimlessly, becoming a technaphobe living off the grid. lol..
Posted by Primus C-00 on June 30th, 2009 @ 1:57pm CDT
MYoung23 wrote:They already have the Spike and Carly pastiches and here comes the Chip Chase one.
This douche in a wheelchair?
That could be watchable.
As for Megan not talking, she was the only actor I felt sorry for watching this movie. The whole premise of the the first movie was that Mikaela was something more than jock arm candy, and hey, guess what she ends up being in this movie.
Maybe if TF3 was nearly three hours of Bay defecating and urinating into the willing open mouths of everyone who thinks this film is Teh Win and faultless?
That I would pay to watch.
Posted by Jetstorm92210 on June 30th, 2009 @ 3:00pm CDT
Posted by cybercat on June 30th, 2009 @ 3:03pm CDT
Here's hoping they drop a hint we want to hear, like 'Dinobots' or 'entirely on Cybertron' or 'actually scary Decepticons again'.
And I think we need an AC130 that's a Decepticon. Howitzers mounted in airplanes? That's nothing but pure happy to me.
HK, still waffling on textbooks.
Posted by Counterpunch on June 30th, 2009 @ 3:18pm CDT
Primus C-00 wrote:As for Megan not talking, she was the only actor I felt sorry for watching this movie. The whole premise of the the first movie was that Mikaela was something more than jock arm candy, and hey, guess what she ends up being in this movie.
You mean Mikaela the key character who:
:saves Sam's life
:captures a Decepticon
:makes the realization that Wheelie can provide important information on the Cybertron characters
That arm candy character? The one who did all those important things?
Primus C-00 wrote:Maybe if TF3 was nearly three hours of Bay defecating and urinating into the willing open mouths of everyone who thinks this film is Teh Win and faultless?
That I would pay to watch.
I haven't been playing around about this kind of crap. Check your PM box. This is Warning worthy.
Posted by SoundWave88 on June 30th, 2009 @ 4:34pm CDT
Posted by Primus C-00 on June 30th, 2009 @ 4:41pm CDT
My contention merely is all people seem to remember Mikaela for, despite as you succinctly noted her integrity to what little story there is, is her T&A and it's, for want of a better phrase, exposure in slo mo.
Posted by SnipeShade on June 30th, 2009 @ 6:20pm CDT
He kinda reminds me of a "Hunter O'Nion type" filler in (ex. Spike and Carly for Sam and Mikaela), except without the badassery and actually usefulness in the story.
So maybe he can go all Raiden (from MGS) on us, and become more badass in the next movie.
Who knows. I've just learned to accept that there will definitely be disappointments in the movie like this one. And I suspect more to come.
Posted by Zeds on June 30th, 2009 @ 6:46pm CDT
Posted by Robinson on June 30th, 2009 @ 7:28pm CDT
Primus C-00 wrote:is her T&A and it's, for want of a better phrase, exposure in slo mo.
This site is probably 90% male popululation, would you expect any different?
Posted by Joshua Vallse on July 1st, 2009 @ 6:58am CDT
It's funny, I do short films as a hobby, and when I was watching this movie for the second time with my siblings I was already doing edits in my head to cut out as much of the twins as I could...and it was turning out pretty good. This guy was fine in terms of the role he played in this film. And if he were to reprise his role I would be more then at peace with that. This actor by far is not the worse thing to point out in terms of "Why Dear God" factors relating to this film and the debate that surrounds it.
If anything, there could be shakey waters in terms of Hasbro and Paramount pressuring Bay to start production with the Third film, and if other actors are tied to this film but also joined at the Hip to "The Bay" such as Shia Paramount might be circulating rumors to see if this franchise would still fly with this character helming leading man. Personally I would think the franchise would be fine being the target demograph, the kiddies, would care less about Shia as long as there are giant robots.
And for those worried about no Shia no Bumblebee....it might also leave open the possibility to introduce another Autobot character, that being Hot Rod. Especially if this Third film were to explore the world of Cybertron itself.
And then, maybe, we could all have our dream of Unicron. I know it's my dream at the least. I keep picturing a scene of flight capable transformers comprised of both decepticons and autobots reigning siege on Unicron in planetary mode ala siege on Death Star while the rest of the Transformers hitch a ride on Omega Supreme to take the fight to the inside.....
Also, I would love to see Megatron taking the role of the Fallen (Hence, becoming Galvatron and maybe Lenoard would voice!!!!) and pitting the city of Tripticon against the Autobots whilst Unicron creeps in slowly for the kill.
Oh what dreams we may weave.
But yeah, Ramon Rodriguez coming back for the third film suit me just fine. Frankly the only human character I really care about is Megan Fox. Not just because she's great eye candy, but because I think it would be neat to develop her role with that of Arcee and the other surviving triplet to really develop the lead female characters both bot and sapien to make for a more interesting film.