Angela Bassett is the villain, and oh what a despicable villain she is, in Bumblebee.
Bumblebee has been getting rave reviews before Thursday’s nationwide release. Director Travis Knight has knocked it out of the park with this inspired origin story of an all-time favorite Autobot.
This 80s based storyline finds scout B127 on direct order from Optimus Prime on a mission to Earth following the final battle in the cataclysmic war for Cybertron. Hailee Steinfeld plays Watson Charlie, a teenage mechanic struggling to find herself after the untimely death of her father. The film also stars Angela Bassett, Justin Theroux, John Cena, Glynn Turman, Jorge Lendeborg Jr among others.
A major knock on prior Transformers installments is the design was convoluted to a great extent. Angles and details that were distracting rather than enhancing to the original design. In Bumblebee we find the Autobots and Decepticons are much more reminiscent of the original subject matter from the Hasbro toy lines.
After being dazed and amazed by the Bumblebee movie, The Shadow League had the opportunity to speak with actress Angela Bassett in a bucket list interview where discussed playing the sadistic Triple-Changer Shatter, her early contributions to science fiction, and Black Panther‘s impact during awards season.
The Shadow League: What was it like immersing yourself in the world of Transformers?
Angela Bassett: It was an absolute delight! It was something very different for me, being such an antagonist. I was such a baddy! I really appreciated the opportunity to inhabit that skin or that robot.
TSL: Some of the lines seemed so perfectly suited to the vocalizations you provided the character. Did you have any script input?
Angela Bassett: It was all scripted out, having the opportunity to work with Travis Knight. He had such a handle on the lay of the land and how the trajectory of the character. It was all on the page, as they say.
TSL: Though you’re filmography is diverse and plentiful, I remember your first science fiction film in Supernova back in 2000.
Angela Bassett: Wow! It’s been a while. What science fiction films have I been in? Well, I produced four. I was in Supernova, It’s been a while. That took me back. Yeah, I’ve found myself in space, but that was early on in my career.
I think at that time I was just trying to get from the beginning to the end of a movie without perishing. But I think the films in which my strongest interests have learned have always been autobiographical, female anthem, girl power, surviving despite the circumstances, but it’s nice to find yourself doing something different than the norm.
That is a part of what I attempted to do. It may be sci-fi, it maybe horror, it maybe comedic horror, action, historical drama, animation, wherever there’s an authentic story to be told. I bring my voice to it, if there’s some resonance somewhere, some voice to it or some degree of humanity, I can just go through that door.
TSL: Black Panther has received multiple Golden Globe nominations, including Best Picture. What were your initials reactions to when the news went viral?
Angela Bassett: My initial thoughts were that I was thrilled! I was very happy it was nominated. Before I officially heard, there were rumblings that these types of movies, superheroes, comic books, don’t deserve that these sort of movies don’t garner that type of serious recognition. That took me back. It was a superhero movie, but there was resonance on so many levels in that movie.
The superhero genre was how it was told, but there was nothing fluff about it. It was the type of film that dissertations can be written about from various angles. So I was very pleased to see that others thought it’s worthwhile. I think it should be celebrated. It’s worthy. I think the next step is that it wins.
TSL: What would you tell fans about the movie ahead of time?
Angela Bassett: I think it’s going to be a very satisfying time at the cinema. I think there’s something for everyone. It’s the origin story in the Transformer universe. I love that there features, for the first time, a young female protagonist in the character of Charlie. There’s a lot of humor, a lot of nostalgia. For Transformers fans, who’re used to those stunning action sequences, it doesn’t disappoint there at all! It manages to juggle all these different balls, and it doesn’t drop one of them.