Screen Rant had the exciting opportunity to be a part of a special Paramount Studios Tour for the 15th Anniversary of 2007's Transformers. The epic action movie, directed by Michael Bay, kicked off a film franchise based on the popular Hasbro toys that is still thriving now. The thrilling combination of action sequences being shot practically and actors performing stunts on-camera with CGI to enhance the futuristic robots means the movie holds up today - and it's a formula improved on in subsequent Transformers movies.
To celebrate the anniversary, the original Transformers returned to theaters for a limited engagement. Not only that, but Paramount proudly showed off plenty of original props from their classic movies at an event on the studio lot, culminating in a tour of the prop room that held a statue of Bumblebee and the original 1992 Peterbilt 379 semi-truck that is Optimus Prime.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Related: Every Transformers Movie, Ranked According To IMDb
The amazing Peter Cullen, who first voiced Optimus Prime in the original 1980s Transformers animated series and has reprised the role many times since, also prepared a speech discussing his time with Transformers. He spoke about how amazing it was to work with Michael Bay, who was like a general in charge of the military while at the helm of this groundbreaking adaption of the 1980’s classic cartoon.
Check out Cullen's fun speech below, along with exclusive photographs Screen Rant took at the scene.
Peter Cullen: When I was a kid and I ever got into a prop room, my head would spin because of the nostalgia that it creates in my brain by remembering stuff. I come in here, look around and say, "Gosh, where's Gloria Swanson? Gary Cooper? Where's Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne? Where are these guys?" Humphrey Bogart is here too. I think of Valentino; there's some stuff from Valentino going back to 1922. Prop rooms really inspire me.
This is really exciting for me. The nostalgia that I get now, when we go back 15 years to seeing Bumblebee and then riding in the truck - my grandson rode in the truck as well. We were just talking about it being 15 years ago, and time goes by so fast. And the nostalgia is there when I think about how this transgressed from a small movie back in 1986 to an action movie in 2007, working with Michael Bay and coming on this lot. I used to come on this lot in case to do trailers; to do the voiceover for their feature films for years. But to end up as Optimus Prime here in the prop department is just as exciting as anything I've ever done in my life.
Somebody asked me to share a moment or two from the days back in 2007, when we were in production with Michael Bay, who I thought was an incredible creative guy. He was like a general in control of the Air Force, the Army, the Navy, the Marines. Putting all that together, and going into a small room and telling me about what's gonna happen. I would come up with Optimus Prime, and he would always be very happy. He didn't know much about the characters before, but he learned quickly and well.
When I first auditioned for Michael, a young gal was gonna read the lines of another character with Optimus Prime. I looked at the script and said, "Ironhide?" I actually played Ironhide as well in the cartoon series, so I said, "I'd like to do Ironhide, too." Frank Welker, one of the greats of all time, would do Megatron,. But he would do about five other voices, so we always ended up talking to ourselves.
Michael looked at me and says, "It's okay. You don't have to do it. Just read your line." So, I read the line at the end. They said, "Okay, that's fine." But I came back two more times to read for Michael, and he always had a great smile on his face. It was just to see how it was gonna fit, and how big Michael's concept of a 45-foot statue was gonna fit through my voice. How are we gonna make that adjustment? I said, "Well, I'll just go lower." So, that's it.
Aside from Transformers set pieces, there were props displayed from several iconic Paramount productions of every conceivable genre, from Mission Impossible to Anchorman.