Director Steven Caple Jr wanted to find a natural path into developing his own Transformers movie and the filmmaker says part of the process involved blocking out all the external noise.
Caple Jr, who made his feature debut with 2016's The Land and later directed Michael B Jordan-starrer Creed II, said he tried to infuse freshness into the franchise with Rise of the Beasts, starring Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback.
"I try to block out the noise as much as possible when developing something like this. It starts early in the script, development stages, where it's like you listen to the fans a little bit. I do (listen) a lot as I am one. But then I also wanna be like, 'okay, what are we missing?' You can't get everything, but at a certain point you kind of block out the pressure," Caple Jr said.
Rise of the Beasts, currently playing in Indian theatres, is the seventh chapter in the sci-fi action franchise that started with 2007's Transformers, which was followed by four sequels and one spin-off movie.
Caple Jr said directing a Transformers movie was more like a responsibility for him.
"But I try to avoid the pressure of trying to compare it to any other films or the scale of the project. At the end of the day, even though the project is this big, I always go down to the characters.
"The characters are the heart of the movie and they always make any project feel big. So if I just focused on that, like the heart of the film, the character's arc, what they're going through, then all the other noise kind of cancels itself out and you find a natural way to tell a story without folding under pressure."
Set in the 1990s, Rise of the Beasts features Ramos as Noah Diaz, who embarks on a globetrotting adventure with the Autobots as they battle the deadly Terrorcons. In their fight, they are joined by the Maximals, a whole new faction of Transformers. Fishback essays the role of Elena Wallace in the movie, which is influenced by the Beast Wars storyline.
Caple Jr, 35, said he had initially turned down the directing offer for the project as the producers approached him for a sequel to their 2018 blockbuster "Bumblebee".
The filmmaker said coming off from Creed II, he did not want to get involved with another sequel.
"I was like, I don't want to do another sequel. I had no interest in just tracking another Bumblebee movie. So I kind of loosely said no. But they said we're still developing and we'll come back to you in like a year or two years.
"And they came back to me saying, we want to do a movie on Maximals and the Beast Wars, but we want to keep the Autobots as well... To have that kind of blend and bring back some of my favourite characters was really exciting," he added.
The Transformers movies are primarily known for their spectacle element, featuring some of the biggest action sequences involving both the humans and the sentient beings. For Caple Jr, the action sequences should always follow the drama elements of the story.
"I'll let the characters take us to the action, I learned that early on my first feature. I had a few action sequences in there and the ones I feel like didn't work were the ones that weren't character motivated. "So in this particular film, I wanted to make sure that every time we're going into an action sequence, it was motivated by a character, whether a flawed situation or person or one of our heroes needed something. So I wanted to make sure it was extremely motivated," the director said.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is presented by Paramount Pictures and Skydance in association with Hasbro and New Republic Pictures.
The movie is produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Tom DeSanto, Don Murphy, Michael Bay, Mark Vahradian and Duncan Henderson. It has been released in Indian theatres in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu in 2D, 3D, 4D and IMAX.