Bad Boys For Life is the third film in a franchise which was dormant for more than a decade, returning with Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah as directors. The duo replaced the role previously occupied by explosive director Michael Bay, a man who certainly left his stamp on the franchise by the end of Bad Boys II. While Bay did not come back to Bad Boys For Life as a director, he did join the film as a host at the wedding for Marcus Burnett's daughter. However, the cameo which hardcore fans caught came with another special touch in the form of camera movement paying tribute to some of Bay's well-known directorial choices.
For Bay's cameo, he got a wrap-around shot treatment to make himself look a bit extra heroic, a camera movement he often uses in the Bad Boys and Transformers movies to add an epic feeling to moments, especially when heroes are rising up. "It was: if you're gonna have Michael Bay in your movie you gotta have the Michael Bay shots," El Arbi tells ComicBook.com. [Having Michael Bay is] like next level."
"This shot's gonna be studied in film school or something like that," Fallah adds. "And also you know, we only did like, he directed the shot himself because he knew how to turn and how to explain to the steady camera how to turn around him and all that, any actor would have taken like, 10 takes. He just did it on the spot."
Of course, Bay directed his own cameo. "It's a second nature, you know," El Arbi says.
"ou try to sit back and, just watch the genius work," Fallah adds.
Still, there was a bit of nerves for the day Bay was on set, as it was the first time the young directors had ever met him. They grew up loving his movies. "We were constantly putting ourselves in what would we like to see, you know, in the third Bad Boys movie," El Arbi explains. "And also paying homage to the movies of Michael Bay of the 90s the action movies of the 90s like with Lethal Weapon," Die Hard, so all these kind of movies, that with our opportunity to do something more in that style and also the Tony Scott movies and Jeff Bruckheimer movies of that era."
Prepared for the moment, the directors still wanted to execute Bay's appearance and time on set just right! "I was stressing you know because that was the first day that we met," El Arbi says. "I was afraid, because you hear all the stories of Michael Bay, was like really hardcore and so experienced, and we just two punks who don't know anything, so I was really very nervous!"
At the end of the day, El Arbi and Fallah pulled it off. Bad Boys For Life is the highest grossing film of 2020 to date and was well received by critics and fans alike. It's no surprise the duo already have their own ideas for the inevitable fourth movie. You can catch their deep dive into Bad Boys For Life in ComicBook.com's exclusive interview in the video above.
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