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'Transformers 4' Casting Takes Off

Mark Wahlberg set to star in sequel

Amid rumors and speculation, director Michael Bay announced that Mark Wahlberg will indeed star in the tentatively titled “Transformers 4.”

The popular “Boogie Nights” and “The Departed” star's inclusion in the series has been widely discussed on the web, but was this the opinion of prescient fans from online forums, or did it directly impact Bay's casting decision?

New Leading Man

Wahlberg officially signed on as the new lead, replacing Shia LeBeouf, who starred in the previous three films. Series regulars Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson will also not be returning. It seems that the influx of rumors and speculation may have influenced the director's decision. In addition to casting influence, Bay said that the recent “Internet chatter” gave him some ideas that are “gaining traction” with him and his writer.

Praising Wahlberg's performance in “Pain and Gain,” Bay is excited to work with the actor once again.

“An actor of his caliber is the perfect guy to reinvigorate the franchise and carry on the Transformers legacy,” Bay said in an official statement.

Bay and Wahlberg previously collaborated on the aforementioned “Pain and Gain,” a dark crime-comedy about a duo of steroidal bodybuilder's who attempt an extortion scheme. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars alongside Wahlberg in the true-crime story and is set for release on April 26, 2013.

New Direction

“We're taking the story that you've seen -- the story we've told in three movies already -- and we're taking it in a new direction,” Bay says about the next installment of the robotic action franchise on AceShowbiz.com. He assures fans that his last Transformers film will not be a reboot.

Adding to the new lead, the film will reportedly star a new slew of CGI robots in the Autobots versus Decepticons battle. Brian Goldner, Hasbro president and CEO, plans to launch a new toy line in concurrence with the new film due to disappointing toy sales after the third Transformers film, DigitalTrends.com reports. Perhaps, Bay, along with "Transformers" scribe, Ehren Kruger, are keeping their digital ears open for the deluge of online chatter for potential ideas in which to formulate the next film.

“The movie's going to continue four years from the attack on Chicago, the climactic scene from 'Dark of the Moon,'" Bay says in an interview with TMZ on CinemaBlend.com. The director says that the jump in time feels “very natural” to the movie's new direction.

“Transformers 4” will begin shooting in the spring of 2013. This fourth feature film from Paramount Pictures based on the Hasbro toy line will mark Bay's fourth -- and final -- foray directing the franchise after 2011's “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” -- the fifth highest grossing film of all time.

The Transformers franchise has earned a total of more than $2.6 billion worldwide.

About the Author

Guest writer Casey Farley's first film review was on a McDonald's napkin. It said E.T. = awesome! He was 5.
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