Bard-worthy acting in a Bruckheimer world

Elusive Hollywood insider Nikki Finke reported on her website, Deadline Hollywood Daily, that Michael Bay has recruited actors John Malkovich and Frances McDormand (the former a two-time Oscar nominee and the latter a proud owner of a golden statuette) to the cast of the third Transformers film, due out in summer 2011.

Before all you Transformers haters pounce on this move, please recognize that Bay is at least trying to promote some semblance of interesting acting into his megabucks action franchise. The presence of undeniably talented stars will hopefully counter the mind-numbingly juvenile dog humping jokes and childish dialogue that plagued the first two films.

Then again, this might just be simple wishful thinking.

The addition of Oscar-caliber talent to the cast continues a popular trend in today’s Hollywood product. We’ve all witnessed this phenomenon before — talented actors resorting to roles in huge spectacles that favor cars, girls and explosions over true acting.

For confirmation of this trend, one only has to look at Stealth, which was Jamie Foxx’s follow-up to Ray, or The Rock, starring the once-mighty Nicholas Cage, or even Adrien Brody’s upcoming role in the newest Predator movie (however, we all remember him more for his famous lip lock with Halle Berry than the performance that won him the award).

The trends of Hollywood star roles are certainly not a new thing. In the 1940s through the 1960s, due to the country’s fascination with travel, Hollywood usually united a leading man/lady with a foreign star to draw in huge audiences (i.e., American movie star Charlton Heston’s pairing with the Italian actress Gabriella Pallotta in the 1962 film, The Pigeon That Took Rome). Today, in accordance with our society’s demand for instant gratification, Hollywood has capitalized not only our preference to “just get to the good part” but also has given it a universal appeal.

The producers of Transformers will attempt to pull off a monumental task in the summer of 2011. Their hiring of Malkovich and McDormand proves their desire to capitalize on the widest possible audience and bring together an older demographic that prefers elitist cinema with a younger demographic that prefers to watch Meagan Fox bare her “talent” onscreen and unite them all under one movie theater roof.

Hey, if it works out McDormand might score her second Oscar win. Then again, that’s just wishful thinking.