With the release of ‘Pain & Gain’ later this month, we’re taking a look back at director Michael Bay’s leading ladies, their iconic roles, and who’s sizzled (and fizzled!) since parting ways with the director!
The actress starred in Bay’s breakout film ‘Bad Boys’ in 1995, playing a murder witness who lands under the protection of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Since then Leoni has worked on a number of big-budget films like ‘Deep Impact’, ‘Jurassic Park III’, ‘Spanglish’ and ‘Fun With Dick and Jane’, all of which have received average success at the box office.
Her career had already taken off in the mid-90s before she worked with Bay on ‘Armageddon’ in 1998, though that screen credit certainly couldn’t have hurt! Tyler was alter cast as the elf maiden Arwen in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ franchise and today splits her time between big-budget films like ‘The Incredible Hulk’ and smaller indie offerings like ‘Super’.
The British actress had already established her film career with roles in films like ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ but her turn in ‘Pearl Harbor’ in 2001 can be thanked for helping to launch the action movie star we all know and love! After the World War II drama Beckinsale went on to star in films like ‘Underworld’, ‘Van Helsing’ and ‘Total Recall’ and is one of the action movie scene’s hottest leading ladies.
Known for her perky and sweet roles in films like ’10 Things I Hate About You’, Union got a huge career boost when she starred in ‘Bad Boys II’ in 2003. Following that film, Union moved on to star in a huge array of films and TV shows, most recently starring in ‘Good Deeds’ and ‘Think Like a Man’.
She’d already appeared in over a dozen films before teaming with Bay for ‘The Island’ in 2005, but it was post-Bay that her career really picked up, with roles in films like ‘The Prestige’, ‘Iron Man 2’ and ‘The Avengers’. She’s set to reprise her role as Black Widow as Marvel continues to roll out new installments in the ‘Avengers’ universe, including ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ and ‘The Avengers 2’.
Arguably one of Bay’s most memorable leading ladies, Fox shot to stardom when she starred in ‘Transformers’ in 2007 and reprised her role in the sequel, ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’ in 2009. But her working relationship with Bay was marked by tension after she compared him to Hitler and was subsequently dropped from the franchise. Her post-Bay career has been shaky at best, which might explain why sources say she finally apologized to Bay in an effort to mend fences and recapture her Hollywood career. It seems to have worked: Bay cast her as April O’Neil in his upcoming live-action adaptation of ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’.
After dropping Megan Fox, Bay cast the stunning blonde model in ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ in 2011, and she immediately rocketed to worldwide fame. RHW has been arguably kinder to the public eye than Fox, has managed to sizzle on every red carpet she touches, and is dating action star Jason Statham to boot—hmm, could her success be part of the reason Fox finally apologized to Bay for her remarks? RHW will next appear in ‘Mad Max: Thunder Road’ alongside Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy.
Bay has a knack for finding new actresses and turning them into the latest Hollywood hotties; the Tel Aviv actress gets her big breakout chance in ‘Pain & Gain’ alongside the Rock and Mark Wahlberg. She’ll also be appearing later this year in the thriller ‘Non-Stop’ alongside Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore.