Transformers sequel bigger, louder, faster

HOLLYWOOD: "Transformers" was one of the biggest, loudest, highest-grossing films of 2007. While making it, director Michael Bay and his crew were often seen wearing T-shirts that simply promised: "Giant F---ing Robots Are Coming."

And in anticipation of the sequel, Bay's team handed out T-shirts at last year's Comic-Con that read, "Even Bigger Giant F---ing Robots Are Coming." And with that unorthodox statement of intent, the "Revenge of the Fallen" stars explained their idea for living up to the hype of a "Transformers" sequel: Make it bigger, louder and faster.

"We went into the first one just messing around, knowing we're putting something together, but it wasn't real pressure," explained Tyrese, who returns in the June 24 sequel as USAF Tech Sergeant Epps. "We were hoping that film would find an audience — and because it did, the second one became more of a responsibility to make it great."

"My first sequel? Cool," grinned Shia LaBeouf, reflecting on raising the stakes in the only film in his career that he's ever revisited. "Now the Autobots are working with humans. There is a strange acceptance about these creatures that have now inhabited our planet. They're here, but we're still learning more and more about them. We have very little information in terms of these things — but they are working in conjunction with the government, and so humans are aware of them."

Although Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and the other favorites are back, new Transformers include big baddie the Fallen, beastly Ravage and, of course, the massive Devastator.

"You have the same basic elements from the first film — it's just amplified by 100 percent," reasoned Megan Fox, who returns as the sexy Mikaela Banes. "It's twice the movie, as far as action goes, and adventure and excitement, and story and character. Yeah, Shia and I are definitely very present in the film, but there's also a lot of interaction between the Decepticons and Autobots — there's a lot of robot-on-robot action."

"I was in Puerto Rico with family," Ramon Rodriguez remembered of viewing "Transformers" in 2007, never realising he'd join the cast as Sam Witwicky's friend Leo in the sequel. "I loved the cartoons, so I was going to go in as a huge critic. I wanted to break the movie down and figure out what [Michael Bay] did right and wrong. But at the end of the film, when I walked out, all I felt was: 'Wow, cool movie!' "

Barely 18 months later, Rodriguez found himself on the bigger, louder, faster-paced set of the sequel. "I ended up doing a good amount of the stunts. One day that was particularly horrifying and awful was a day we were in the desert. ... I had to hold onto this pole, and Michael Bay brings out these two huge fans that blow 100-mile-an-hour winds each. That's 200-mile-per-hour winds coming right at me!" he laughed. "And when I was hanging off the pole, with the wind in my face and the dirt blowing and Michael Bay yelling, I was like, 'I love it; I love my job!' "