On Michael Bay, Brian Austin Green, the Olsen Twins, being sexualized, and 'Transformers.'
Megan Fox doesn't mind reminiscing about the past. But rewatching it? "I just got sick to my stomach," she admits as she sits down to watch clips of her movies and interviews from over the years. "I just got nervous." Her face twists into a pained grimace as the first clip -- from her very first movie -- is cued up.
"Ugh, kill me! Just kill me!" she groans. "Why are you doing this to me? Just smother me or something!"
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Fox's occult cult classic, Jennifer's Body, but her nearly two decades in Hollywood have seen her take on a number of different projects -- TV sitcoms and teen rom-coms and million dollar mega-franchises -- while off-screen, she was proving to be ahead of her time in her candor and was continuously drug through the mud for it. Now 33, Fox might cringe at the thought of revisiting her teenage self, but she ultimately realized that she isn't all that different today.
"It's weird. Because I've grown so much as a person, I would think that I would listen to myself talk and be like, 'God, who's that?!'" Fox says. "But I sound so similar, and the sentiments that I'm expressing are similar. I'm always taken aback when I listen to myself talk. Two things: I am eccentric, [but] sometimes I'm surprised at how eccentric I am. I'm also surprised at how deep I always was even as a young, young kid. You can tell that there's more to [that girl] that meets the eye. Get it? Get it? Transformers joke."
Read on as she reflects on her career, sharing memories of her most iconic roles and her favorite co-stars and revealing how the industry has -- and hasn't -- changed over the years.
Holiday in the Sun (2001)
Credited as Megan Denise Fox, she booked her first role in this direct-to-video entry in the Olsen Twins oeuvre, playing spoiled heiress Brianna Wallace -- as in the department store Wallace -- and serving as the romantic rival to Ashley's Alex Stewart.
"My assistant is a 25-year-old girl and she sends me GIFs of myself all the time and one of them is Brianna Wallace -- I think was my character's name? -- so I get that GIF sent to me more often than I would like. We filmed that at the Atlantis in the Bahamas, and I remember I used to take these little planes that sat, like, 10 people back and forth from Florida, because I was living in Florida at the time. My mom and I were always getting caught in hurricanes on the way and always having to pray for our safety to land so I could finish filming Holiday in the Sun. I don't need to ever see it again."
Fox hasn't kept in touch with the Olsen twins in the years since. "But that's amazing what they've done, creating those fashion brands. Icons."
Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (2004)
Following a one-season stint on the daytime soap "Ocean Ave.," Fox landed the role of Lindsay Lohan's nemesis, Carla Santini, the most popular girl at their New Jersey high school and reigning Dance Dance Revolution champ.
"I'm glad you didn't make me watch the dialogue scenes. That's before people knew I could do my own stunt work, so I had a stunt lady for that. But I can do that kind of stuff now. That was one of the first things I did. I just don't really have a lot to say about it. 'Why?' It's a shame that these things survived long enough to see the dawn of the Internet...It would be nice if it had eclipsed, like the Internet was born but these things had sort of fallen away and no one could find them. But here we are."
Fox's first-ever ET interview -- in which she told us how "picky" she is about choosing roles -- was on the red carpet at the movie's premiere, which she attended with her mom, Gloria, and "7th Heaven" actor David Gallagher.
"That was my first boyfriend. Hi, David Gallagher, how are you? I liked him very much, very sweet boy. What am I wearing? What is that necklace? Look at my hair and makeup, it's so bad. Look at my eyebrows. What in Jesus' name? Where are my eyebrows?...It's funny because I didn't even have an agent, so I don't know what I was talking about? I guess at that time, though, I was already aware [that] whatever work I had done up until that point I was always the 'mean girl.' I mean, I still play those characters often. Poor David. I wasn't a good girlfriend to him. He doesn't miss me at all."
Hope & Faith (2004 - 2006)
Heading into season two of the ABC sitcom, the role of Sydney Shanowski -- eldest daughter to Faith Ford's Hope -- was recast, with Fox taking over for actress Nicole Paggi. Fox met her future husband, Brian Austin Green, when he guest starred in a 2004 episode playing himself.
"He recently did an interview [on Live With Kelly and Ryan] and they were saying I was 17, and that's not true. I had turned 18 in May and that was filmed in October. I remember specifically. So I was already 18 when I met him. Ted [McGinley] did say like, 'Don't look at her, she's too young,' but I had turned 18. It's just, he was 31, so I was too young for him -- but not illegal, is the point. I was just kind of in love with him right away. He did this thing where he came to the dressing room and he like, gave his number out to everyone in case anyone needed to call him at some point. But he was giving it to me. Like, I knew he was giving me his number. My sister was with me, [she's] 12 years older -- she actually watched 90210, I was too young for it -- and she was like, 'You're not going to be anything but a booty call.' And this is our 10th year of marriage and our 15th year together, so you see how that worked out. I'm nobody's booty call, OK?"
Both Fox's career and the tabloids' endless coverage of her went into hyper-drive when she was cast in Michael Bay's live-action "Transformers" movie, playing Mikaela Banes, a small-time car thief and love interest to Shia LaBeouf. The movie became one of the highest grossing films of the year.
"We had a lot of fun on the first press tour. That's the first time that I'd done anything like that -- sat and done a junket -- and they put me with [Shia], thankfully, because I love him. He's one of my favorite people that I've ever known. And he makes it a lot of fun and we have a really good chemistry, you can tell. And I miss him. I miss my Shia. Those are the only memories I really have from that, just good ones from that."
GQ Men of the Year Party (2008)
By 2008, Fox was a media obsession -- and was labeled as much by GQ Magazine, who called her their "Obsession of the Year" alongside photos of her modeling a selection of bikinis. Green, who was Fox's fiancé at the time, was her date for their GQ Men of the Year party.
"I loved the photoshoot I did for GQ, but it was exhausting...On the one hand, I'm not offended if someone were to say, 'Hey, people think you're sexy!' I don't think there's anything wrong with being sexy. It's just a problem that that part was so loud that it muted out the rest of who I was -- and has continued to even now. That was the difficult part. Because when I was young, if I was a cute kid, no one told me. I had no idea, so I always thought, if anything, I was probably pretty ugly. And that was just not a tool I had in my tool belt. I wasn't like, 'I'm a pretty girl and that's something I can use to my advantage.' I knew that I was smart, I knew that I was funny, I knew that I was strange, but in a good way. Those are all things I thought were my strengths. I knew I was courageous and that I was not afraid to stand up when I thought an injustice had occurred. That's who I was. And then, all of a sudden, I was none of those things. I was supposed to just be a sexy girl or the prettiest girl or the most beautiful -- which is the most burdensome title to have to carry around, especially when you don't feel that way about yourself. You feel like eventually, people are going to figure out that this is not true. The shoe's going to drop at some point and then what? What am I valued for? I'm valued for this thing which is a farce."
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
The "Transformers" sequel, which reenlisted LaBeouf and Fox for another robo-battle between the Autobots and Decepticons, was panned by critics and won the 2010 Razzie for "Worst Picture." It was the beginning of what would lead Fox to have a "genuine psychological breakdown."
"I'm just looking at that girl and I want to give her a hug, because I remember what I was going through, and I was really struggling more than I was able to express...And that wasn't even the worst part -- the worst part came after that -- but it was already hard at that time. I was so young -- I think I was 23 on that press tour -- and I didn't feel like I had earned any of this. Very few people get fame and feel like they deserve it. I think there has to be a little something off with you if you feel like, 'It's my time and I've really earned this!' I had done one movie. I didn't really understand what all the hype was about, and it's almost like I felt guilty for it. I felt like I almost needed to apologize for being where I was, because there were other people who have worked so hard and never get to that place and it seemed to happen for me like that."
In a 2009 interview, Fox infamously said Michael Bay "wants to be like Hitler on his sets" and called the director "a nightmare to work for." She was fired from the franchise before the third film. They would eventually make amends and work together on "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."
"The past will weigh you down and drain you of your vitality if you focus on it too much. That's not to say you can't do work on it with a therapist, but for me to sit and be resentful or to really regret something or to suffer because of something that I did in my past, I think, is pointless. Any choice that I made, I have to accept responsibility for it and I also have to acknowledge how it grew me as a person. There was not one thing that I went through that was trying or difficult that didn't help me to grow into a better individual, a smarter, stronger, more patient, more kind person. So there's no point in regretting those things. And I also don't believe that I've ever been a victim. I think that I manifested my reality and it was a reflection of my own belief systems, so I had to live through it and work through it and continue to grow and change my beliefs so that my reality would change."
Jennifer's Body (2009)
Fox was Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody's only choice to play the titular role in her "Juno" follow-up, a horror film about a high school cheerleader who becomes possessed by a man-eating demon. A scene in which Jennifer seduces her best friend (played by Amanda Seyfried) would be gratuitously recycled in the movie's marketing.
"We both dreaded filming that, because we knew that was going to happen. And the logistics of filming it-- Is it called a macro-close-up, when it's that close? We were both like, 'We have chin acne. We don't want to do this super close-up of our lips.' But it was also the concern of like, 'Nobody is going to understand this. Nobody is going to understand the intention. The studio is not going to allow it to breathe and be what it is. It's going to be turned into this sensational moment of Megan Fox having a lesbian kiss in a movie,' which it was. I mean, we all anticipated that, so that wasn't a surprise, but it detracted from the importance of the movie and how special the movie really was. But now we're here 10 years later and most of my fans, it's their favorite project I've ever done. It's my favorite project that I've ever done. I have some other ones that I really liked -- I loved working on Ninja Turtles, loved working on New Girl -- but this one was just magical at that moment in my life and it was it was a perfect fit, so it's continued to be my favorite."
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
Fox made a childhood dream come true when she teamed up with the heroes in a half shell for a live-action reboot of the franchise, starring as intrepid news reporter April O'Neil.
"I love those movies. I went and had a meeting for that movie on Valentine's Day -- I met with the directors and the producers -- and I stayed for five hours on Valentine's Day, to express how excited I was to be a part of that. And then when I finally got the call that it was going to happen, I danced. I was really excited about it because I loved, loved the Ninja Turtles growing up. We made two of them. The second movie, I really loved and I'm actually excited to show that to my kids. I think when the youngest one is old enough to understand that I'm not being kidnapped by a ninja, that it's all pretend, I'll probably show them."
Fox's last press tour, for "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows," was in 2016, a year before the emergence of the Me Too Movement and Time's Up initiative amplified the sort of views she'd been speaking out about for years. Though Fox sees a shift in the industry, she says she hasn't felt it personally.
"I was pregnant with my third son and I was turning 30. I was on a mini press tour for Ninja Turtles and every male journalist that came in was like, 'What plans do you have for your future? Because you've always been the sexy girl, but now you're 30.' And I remember the second day, I was kind of yelling at people. I was like, 'I don't even f**king have wrinkles in my forehead yet! But I'm supposed to hang it up and not be an actor anymore because I'm 30? F**k you!' So that was my most recent experience, and it was quite similar. There was no sort of respect that had come from the Me Too movement and this idea that we should respect women and not focus so much on how they look. I haven't experienced it yet, but it's not to say that it hasn't happened. I just haven't been doing enough interviews, maybe?"
Megan Fox and Diablo Cody Interview Each Other for 'Jennifer's Body' 10 Year Anniversary (Exclusive)