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Megan Fox’s absence changed ‘Transformers’ vibe, says Shia LaBeouf

Megan Fox as Mikaela Banes and Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky in 2077's "Transformers." (Robert Zuckerman / DreamWorks)

Megan Fox plays Mikaela Banes alongside Shia LaBeouf's Sam Witwicky in "Transformers." (DreamWorks/Paramount Pictures)

Megan Fox reprises her role as Mikaela Banes in "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." (Jaimie Trueblood/Paramount Pictures)

Megan Fox reprises her role as Mikaela Banes in "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." (Jaimie Trueblood/Paramount Pictures)

Megan Fox reprises her role as Mikaela Banes in "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." (Jaimie Trueblood/Paramount Pictures)

Megan Fox reprises her role as Mikaela Banes in "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." (Jaimie Trueblood/Paramount Pictures)

Rosie Huntington-Whitley attends a Victoria's Secret Fashion Show after party in 2010. (Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley plays Carly Miller alongside Shia LeBeouf's Sam Witwicky in "Transformers: Dark of the Moon." (Robert Zuckerman/Paramount Pictures)

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Patrick Dempsey in "Transformers: Dark of the Moon." (Robert Zuckerman/Paramount Pictures)

Actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley at the CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards on March 31, 2011 in Las Vegas. (Chris Pizzello/Associated Press)

ET.0625.Transformers.24 -- Mikaela Banes (as played by MEGAN FOX) in ÒTRANSFORMERSÓ, a DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures Presentation, in Association with Hasbro, a di Bonaventura Pictures Production, a Tom DeSanto/Don Murphy Production of a Michael Bay 2007 movie, "TRANSFORMERSÓ.

Director Michael Bay has a new toy in “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” — British model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who replaces Megan Fox as the love interest for Shia LaBeouf’s human hero in the center of the warring-alien-robots franchise.

Huntington-Whiteley is equipped for Bay’s brusque shooting style in a way that Fox (who in the media likened her director’s on-set behavior to Napoleon and Hitler) was not, according to LaBeouf.

Megan Fox reprises her role as Mikaela Banes in "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." (Jaimie Trueblood / Paramount Pictures)

“Megan developed this Spice Girl strength, this woman-empowerment [stuff] that made her feel awkward about her involvement with Michael, who some people think is a very lascivious filmmaker, the way he films women,” LaBeouf said. “Mike films women in a way that appeals to a 16-year-old sexuality. It’s summer. It’s Michael’s style. And I think [Fox] never got comfortable with it. This is a girl who was taken from complete obscurity and placed in a sex-driven role in front of the whole world and told she was the sexiest woman in America. And she had a hard time accepting it. When Mike would ask her to do specific things, there was no time for fluffy talk. We’re on the run. And the one thing Mike lacks is tact. There’s no time for [LaBeouf assumes a gentle voice] ‘I would like you to just arch your back 70 degrees.'”

Huntington-Whiteley, on the other hand, must have arched her back just right when Bay shot her in a Victoria’s Secret ad in 2009, because months after Fox’s trash-talking peaked, the director cut the actress’ character, Mikaela Banes,  from the third “Transformers” movie and replaced her with the newcomer.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who plays Carly in "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," and director Michael Bay, look at the new "Transformers Autobot Ark" spacecraft toy. The new movie debuts on July 1. (Ray Stubblebine / Reuters)

“Rosie comes with this Victoria’s Secret background, and she’s comfortable with it, so she can get down with Mike’s way of working and it makes the whole set vibe very different,” LaBeouf said.

It’s not just the set environment that changed when Huntington-Whiteley arrived, LaBeouf said, but the relationship between his character, Sam Witwicky, and his lady. In “Dark of the Moon,”  a Cybertronian spacecraft has been discovered on the moon and the alien robots are stirring. Sam, who fought beside the good-guy Autobots in two wars with the Decepticons, has graduated from college, only to face a breakup with Mikaela and an economy with 10% unemployment.

“Sam’s sort of frustrated,” LaBeouf said. “He has no purpose in life. When he was with the Autobots, he had purpose. He was needed. But he’s got this very supportive girl [Huntington-Whitley’s Carly Miller] who’s having him go to these job interviews and trying to nurture him, get him back on his feet. It’s a different female energy than he experienced with Mikaela, who was a very cold biker chick. This woman’s more of a maternal, loving type. Sam wants a domestic, eggs-in-the-morning kind of a thing.”

Domestic bliss? In a Michael Bay movie? Sounds like the end of the world.

— Rebecca Keegan

Twitter.com/@thatrebecca

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