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Actors You Totally Forgot Were In The Transformers Movies

Though they're named after gigantic robots that can transform into automobiles, the Transformers movies have largely preoccupied themselves with human characters, particularly the five entries in the franchise directed by Michael Bay. Rather than flesh out Autobots like Optimus Prime, the Transformers movies focus on the exploits of Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) and a Texas inventor with a Boston accent named Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg). The excessive amount of human characters in these films has spawned criticism, particularly due to the widespread perception that an overcrowded cast of supporting human characters comes at the expense of screentime for the titular robots.

If there is one advantage to the Transformers movies' bizarre love of human-filled casts, it's that they've had time to shoehorn in big-name actors you'd never expect to find in incoherent summer blockbusters. The appearances of these storied talents never substantially elevate the quality of individual Transformers movie, but it can be amusing to remember that someone like Frances McDormand once graced this franchise with her presence. Given how loud and busy the Transformers movies can get, it's easy to forget anything happening in them beyond lots of noises and explosions. Here, then, is a helpful reminder of some notable actors who you totally forgot showed up in the Transformers movies.

Jon Voight in Transformers

Over the years, Jon Voight has appeared in several classic films, most notably the seminal 1969 motion picture Midnight Cowboy. Following in the footsteps of those projects is his appearance as Secretary of Defense John Keller in the first Transformers movie. His second collaboration with Michael Bay following Pearl Harbor, Voight's performance as Keller entails giving a number of grandiose speeches and conveying astonishment at the discovery of the Transformers. This reaction is key to the movie's world-building: It shows how well-hidden these robots have been for decades. Not even the Secretary of Defense knew that Megatron was being held within the Hoover Dam!

During Transformers' finale, Keller is involved in an attempt by other supporting characters like Seymour Simmons (John Turturro) to call in an air raid to help the Autobots fight back against the Decepticons. Despite the intervention of Decepticon Frenzy, the mission is successful and Keller is able to approve this military maneuver. That's as much action as Keller ever sees in this franchise. Despite being a prominent official in the U.S. government, Keller is one of many supporting figures from this first Transformers film that never re-appears in the various Transformers sequels. At least that left Voight's schedule free in the years since, allowing him to appear in further cinematic masterpieces like Same Kind of Different as Me.

Bernie Mac in Transformers

While Bernie Mac's most famous acting role was the one he had on The Bernie Mac Show, Mac also scored a number of high-profile parts in movies. These included lead roles in projects like Mr. 3000 and Guess Who, as well as supporting roles in films like Ocean's Eleven. Falling into the latter category is the part of car dealer Bobby Bolivia in first Transformers movie.

Bolivia is the man who sells Sam Witwicky his first car, which turns out to be Bumblebee in disguise. Bolivia is last seen being forced to bring down his price for Bumblebee after the Autobot sneakily destroys the windows in every other car on Bolivia's lot. Though this is a small role, Mac's gift for comic timing gave the character some amusing line deliveries in his minimal amount of screentime. Bobby Bolivia serves as one of many examples of how Mac's comedic gifts could be utilized in any setting, whether on a sitcom on Fox, or in a big-budget Michael Bay movie. Another neat trait of Bolivia's is that, unlike many of the other one-off supporting characters in the first Transformers movie, this car dealer actually does get referenced again in another Transformers installment. The initial teaser for Bumblebee, which shows the films protagonist, Casey, stumbling onto Bumblebee in disguise as a VW bug, opens with Bolivia's "driver don't pick the car" speech from Transformers playing in voice-over.

Rainn Wilson in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

When The Office first premiered in 2005, Rainn Wilson, who played Dwight Schrute, emerged quickly as the show's big scene-stealer. In the wake of his career skyrocketing, Wilson showed up in a memorable cameo in Juno and headlined his first feature-length comedy, The Rocker. Among these early big-screen credits was a small role in the second Transformers movie.

In Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Wilson portrays professor R.A. Colan, who teaches an astronomy class that Sam Witwicky has a mental breakdown in. This quick appearance includes a gag involving an apple that implies Colan is sleeping with one of his students. Like many instances of "levity" in the Michael Bay Transformers movies, it's a moment that's more upsetting than humorous. The other gags in the scene fall similarly flat, making it a relief when R.A. Colan vanishes after this sequence, save for a quick mid-credits appearance wherein Witwicky returns to his class.

Wilson has been a gifted comic well-served in other projects, but he's let down by Revenge of the Fallen's generally haphazard approach to comedy. A movie that thought the twins were hilarious was never going to utilize Wilson properly. The result is a character even die-hard fans of The Office can't get excited about.

Patrick Dempsey in Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Famous for playing Dr. Shepherd, AKA McDreamy, on Grey's Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey's best-known silver screen appearances came in late-2000s projects like Enchanted and Made of Honor. Among these roles is Dylan Gould, who appears in the massively lucrative blockbuster Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The abrasive boss of Sam Witwicky's new girlfriend Carly Spencer (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), Gould is eventually revealed as a human liaison to the Decepticons. His primary stroke as a villain comes when he holds Spencer hostage in his Chicago apartment to get Witwicky to accomplish a task for the Decepticons.

Conceptually, Dempsey's casting is intriguing, especially since Dempsey had been playing handsome romantic leads up to that point. Not only is this subversive casting fun, nestling a scheming baddie inside a convincing romantic rival for Spencer's affections is genuinely interesting. Unfortunately, the character is undercut by the fact that he just can't provide any real menace next to gigantic robot foes like Driller. Despite being played by Dempsey, Gould vanishes for long stretches of Dark of the Moon's third act, before having one final confrontation with Witwicky that ends in him being electrocuted to death. It's a forgettable demise for a largely disposable foe that wastes Dempsey's novel casting.

John Malkovich in Transformers: Dark of the Moon

John Malkovich has amassed quite the eclectic filmography in his decades as an actor. He's the star of daring works from filmmakers like Spike Jonze and Jane Campion, he's appeared in movies as different as Mile-22 and The Penguins of Madagascar, and he's probably one of the only people who can say he's played Blackbeard and a pope. Even in his unpredictable career, though, the decision to play Sam Witwickys first boss, Bruce Brazos, in Transformers: Dark of the Moon stands out as a peculiar choice.

The role certainly allows Malkovich to indulge in his most eccentric qualities. Consider his final scene in Dark of the Moon, which involves Brazos excitedly playing around with Bumblebee, the first Transformer he's ever seen in person. If you ever wanted to see Malkovich on his back, giggling at the sight of Bumblebee's guns, here you go. While fusing Malkovich with Transformers sounds like it'd result in an unforgettably surreal sight, Malkovich doesn't have enough screentime in Dark of the Moon to really leave an impact. However, Malkovich himself apparently had a memorable time on the set: He called Brazos "[a] fun character," in an interview with Reelz Channel. He went on to note that his experience filming Dark of the Moon was "very, very enjoyable ... for me, it was a blast."

Frances McDormand in Transformers: Dark of the Moon

When Frances McDormand appears in a movie, it's an event. The Fargo star carefully chooses her projects, so new performances in films like Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Nomadland are all the more special. One project McDormand opted to give her selective attention to was the role of National Intelligence director Charlotte Mearing in Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

For much of the movie's runtime, McDormand's Mearing mostly functions as an antagonistic force to the protagonists, particularly in her aggressive stance against the Autobots, whom she sees as responsible for all the mayhem that's been unleashed on Earth. Her role in the film's climactic battle of Chicago is to stand in a control room and provide expository dialogue. A big Coen-Brothers-regulars crossover occurs in the credits, as John Turturro's Seymour Simmons plants a smooch on Mearing.

Though Mearing isn't the most iconic character, a memorable moment came when McDormand explained the role to Black Book magazine. Her son, it turns out, is a fan of the franchise: "He's 16 now," McDormand explained, "He used to be interested in Transformers movies because of the toys. Then he got interested because of the cars. Now he's interested because of the Victoria's Secret model ... She's going to be interesting to him. I'm not going to be interesting to him." Meanwhile, the existence of a Transformers movie on McDormand's filmography proves interesting to all.

Alan Tudyk in Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Though he's better known nowadays for his voice work in movies (especially as the stern droid K-2SO in Rogue One), there was a time where Alan Tudyk was best known for portraying oversized comic characters in live action. Whether it was Gerhardt in 28 Days or Steve the Pirate in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Tudyk could be counted on to provide larger-than-life performances. Tudyk's turn as Dutch in Transformers: Dark of the Moon is in the mold of these roles.

Dutch serves as Seymour Simmons' right-hand man after the former Sector 7 agent becomes a big-time author. Dutch joins Simmons and Witwicky in their pursuit of classified information, a mission that allows Dutch to do anything the script requires. If the screenplay needs a punchline for tired gay jokes abut Dutch's girlfriend "living in Canada", Dutch is there. If Dutch suddenly needs to become John Wick for a scene, he's there. When there's hacking that needs to be done in the climax, Dutch is your guy.

Between all these characteristics and a cartoony German(?) accent, Tudyk certainly got to revel in outsized comedy in his Dark of the Moon performance. It's not his most memorable work, but in hindsight, Tudyk's turn as Dutch feels like him closing the chapter on one part of his career before moving onto a new one with his turn as King Candy in Wreck-It Ralph the following year.

Kelsey Grammer in Transformers: Age of Extinction

The fourth Transformers movie, Transformers: Age of Extinction, gave the series a fresh start. Mark Wahlberg's Cade Yeager takes over the role of protagonist, while a mostly new roster of Autobots shows up. The series needed a new human antagonist, who emerged in the form of Kelsey Grammer's Harold Attinger. A CIA operative determined to wipe out all the Transformers with the aid of non-partisan robot Lockdown (don't ask about the hypocrisy), the role is a far cry from the tossed salads and scrambled eggs Grammer dealt with in his time on Frasier. However, it's a role Grammer apparently enjoyed playing, particularly when it came to interacting with director Michael Bay.

"He's a terrific guy and quite a filmmaker," Grammer said about Bay. "He just said to me the other day, 'You're Kelsey Grammer -– you can do whatever you want to do.' So I guess he at least has some acquaintance with my work." Despite that creative freedom, Attinger, like most human villains in the Transformers movies, proves to be forgettable even before he's dwarfed by Age of Extinction's barrage of climactic explosions and robotic dinosaurs. Grammer's engaging screen presence can only do so much for a character this thinly-written. Still, at least Grammer enjoyed himself enough on set to keep those blues from a-callin'.

Jerrod Carmichael in Transformers: The Last Knight

From 2015 to 2017, Jerrod Carmichael starred on the sitcom The Carmichael Show, which proved to be a breakthrough project for the stand-up comic. In the wake of The Carmichael Show's success, Carmichael ventured into feature films, including Transformers: The Last Knight.

Carmichael played Jimmy, an employee who works at Cade Yeager's junkyard. He mostly functions as comic relief, through his exasperated interactions with the robots hiding out in the junkyard. Jimmy has no real role to play in any of the film's major set pieces, and sits out the majority of the story in the junkyard with fellow supporting character Izzy. He does manage to travel to the site of The Last Knight's climactic battle, though he does not participate in the proceedings.,

Jimmy might not be a big, juicy part, but the actor did get what he wanted out of it: A learning experience. "A reason I wanted to do the film was to see what a production of that size was like and to see how comedy can translate internationally," Carmichael told The Hollywood Reporter. "You can say a quippy thing or something sarcastic but does that translate to China? Does it play well in India? It's a skill." Even if the role is disposable, Carmichael took some solid lessons away from being in The Last Knight – including this being his "first and last" foray into blockbuster franchises.

Anthony Hopkins in Transformers: The Last Knight

"Anthony Hopkins in a Transformers movie" sounds like the set-up to a joke. But Hopkins did indeed appear in Transformers: The Last Knight. Despite being a focal part of the movie's marketing, the role has been largely forgotten — especially since Hopkins followed up The Last Knight with acclaimed dramatic roles in projects like The Two Popes and The Father.

In The Last Knight, Hopkins played Sir Edmund Burton, the leader of a secret society dedicated to preserving the hidden truth of the Transformers' place in human history. Hopkins is primarily around to deliver exposition to The Last Knight's protagonist, Cade Yeager. In his time on screen, the man responsible for Hannibal Lecter also gets to utter the phrase "dude", discuss the watch that killed Adolf Hitler, and explicitly inquire about Mark Wahlberg's sex life, like he's Tommy Wiseau in The Room. These moments of brazen silliness are fleeting, but they sure are memorable.