When Megan Fox was 2, she told her mom she was going to be an actress. Not that she wanted to be an actress, but that she was going to be one.
“Sometimes I just know things,” she explains. “I accidentally tap into stuff sometimes. I used to do it as a kid, and I do it as an adult. I crossed over and saw a future string.”
String, as in string theory. Fox is into stuff like that. She’s also spiritual. On her Instagram profile, she describes herself thusly: “Child of the Cherokee Tribe … forest nymph … Lunar Leo mother goddess to 2 bohemian revolutionaries-my kamikaze free spirit & my peaceful warrior.”
As a girl growing up in Tennessee, Fox was raised a Pentecostal Christian, speaking in tongues and falling down on the floor. She’s no longer a member of the church, but her upbringing opened her eyes to the spiritual world.
Fox is here in an otherwise barren conference room to talk about her new film “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” which opened on Friday. She’s had bronchitis for two weeks. (“I’ll shake your hand, but you’re just going to get sick,” she warns.) She’s pregnant, though you can barely tell with the flowy lace dress she has on. The actress, 30, is about to have her third child with former “90210” star Brian Austin Green, whom she married when she was 24. Their relationship is complicated: Fox filed for divorce last fall, but now that she’s pregnant with his child, the tabloids say they’re considering getting back together.
In “Ninja Turtles” Fox once again plays broadcaster April O’Neil. The movie is a sequel to 2014’s live-action reboot, which grossed nearly $500 million worldwide. And nine weeks after she gives birth to her third baby, she’ll return to Fox’s sitcom “New Girl,” on which her arc this season as Zooey Deschanel’s deadpan roommate earned her strong critical reviews.
Despite that success, Fox isn’t sure she wants to follow her string theory vision anymore. “I don’t think acting is my ultimate passion,” she says about a week before the “Ninja Turtles” opening. “I have other skill sets and gifts that are much, much stronger that I am obligated to exercise and use. I’m really more intellectually minded. I’ve always been into alternative history, antiquities, archaeology. I’ve always been really consumed by these deep mysteries that exist on our planet that can’t be explained today by science. They eat away at me.”
It all started, she continues, on the set of 2009’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” which was partly filmed in Egypt. She and costar Shia LaBeouf were given a tour of of the Great Pyramid of Giza by the Ministry of Antiquities and someone “high-ranking in that field -- I will not say who” told the actors that the pyramid was never actually a tomb.
“They presume they may have been some type of energy plant at some point,” says Fox. “The sarcophagus that is in the Great Pyramid was put there by the government for tourism. And that sparked in me an interest in really exposing this sort of thing, because I realized I have access to things I shouldn’t have access to because of what I do for a living.”
OK, but what does this all mean for Fox, practically speaking? Is she going to become a docent at the Natural Museum of History? Host a History Channel show on which she goes on archaeological digs? “It might be something like that,” she says of the latter suggestion. “If I ended up working for Vice, that would be a dream. I don’t know how that could ever work, but I do have a little bit of a journalistic streak and I’m also reckless enough to do well in that field, I think.”
Reckless. It’s a word that’s been synonymous with Fox since those “Transformers” movies, during which she had a notorious spat with director Michael Bay. She likened him to Hitler, and LaBeouf said the director made her feel like a sex object whose main goal on set was to “just arch [her] back 70 degrees.” Steven Spielberg, a producer on the franchise, reportedly told Bay to fire Fox after her disparaging public remarks, and she was soon replaced by model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Fox maintains she quit.
The director and the actress patched things up after the third "Transformers" film, when Fox e-mailed Bay to apologize for her behavior. "I was, like, Hey, the movie is about to come out and it's gonna be huge. Congratulations. I just want you to understand that anything I've ever said negative about you in the press, at this point in my life, I understand I should have kept that between you and I."
He accepted her apology, which is what led to her role in the "Turtles" series, which Bay produces. But the fracas taught Fox a lot about controlling her impulses, she says. Back then, she felt like she was "Joan of Arc, and it was my job to pick up the sword and defend anyone that I felt like was being treated in an unjust manner," she says. "There were moments where I could have acquiesced and been more respectful, and I wasn’t."
As a result of the drama, many directors are afraid of Fox, she says. They're worried she'll be difficult -- a loose cannon. Dave Green, who directed the "Turtles" sequel insists he didn't feel that way, partly because he and Fox are about the same age. "I didn't let those ideas intermingle with actually getting to know her," he says. "The first time we talked, she wanted to know my astrological sign and found out I was an Aquarius, which she said meant I was sensitive and focused but driven at the same time, or something.”
If she's going to act, Fox says, she wants to have fun on set. She feels comfortable in big action films, partly because she cut her teeth on them. She likes the chaos and the adrenaline, pretending to exist in a world totally different than her own. She doesn't like material that might make her cry because she thinks life is tragic enough on its own. That's why she liked "New Girl," where the comedic environment was light and everyone was improvising.
"People are always surprised that I can handle comedy," she says. "But I’ve done it before, and every time I’ve done it -- even for five seconds in Judd Apatow's movie ['This Is 40'] -- it’s always been relatively successful for me."
Fox says she often feels misunderstood, largely because of her drop-dead gorgeous looks. If she is sent 10 scripts, five of them will include offers for roles as a prostitute or an escort. When the paparazzi catch her toting a book on Nephilism, they make fun of her.
"You know how women that are always cast in James Bond movies are pinups but their job in the movies is always being a marine biologist or neuroscientist?" she asks. "I think people react to me that way. Like, 'Right, she's studying neurobiology.' But I am really interested in that."
None of this, however, has resulted in Fox playing down her looks. In the opening scene of the new "Turtles" film, Fox runs through Grand Central Station in a skimpy schoolgirl uniform as the camera zooms in on her taut midsection.
She doesn't feel like feminism and sexiness are contradictory, but, she admits, there's also a part of her that feels like "resistance is futile, at this point." "I'm not going to keep fighting the image that exists," she says, a dreary resignation washing across her face.
"I think people, in general, are plebeians that are brainwashed by the type of media that they expose themselves to. ... People anticipate a shallowness [from me]. They anticipate a self-centeredness and a lack of self-awareness. It doesn't ... matter what I say, or how eloquent a speaker I may be, or how positive my intentions may be. I'm going to be made into what people desire me to be. At this moment, they might desire to exalt me onto a pedestal. But the next? You're a human sacrifice. The control is not in my hands."
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