A-List: Megan Fox
Later that year, Fox got her first starring role in the horror-comedy, Jennifer’s Body. The script was from Juno-writer, Diablo Cody and it co-starred former Mean Girl, Amanda Seyfried. In the movie, Fox and Seyfried share a brief and highly publicized kiss. But even the promise of a lesbian kiss wasn’t enough to bring out Fox’s heavily male audience. This was the first test of Fox’s star power and it failed. According to Fox:
“People expected ‘Jennifer’s Body’ to make so much money. But I was doubtful. The movie is about a man-eating, cannibalistic lesbian cheerleader, and that pretty much eliminates middle America. It’s obviously a girl-power movie, but it’s also about how scary girls are. Girls can be a nightmare. ‘Jennifer’s Body’ wasn’t rated PG-13 like ‘Twilight. It was a hard R, and kids couldn’t get in. So they bought a ticket to another movie and snuck in.”
Fox likes to use that phrase “girl power”. It’s sometimes hard to distinguish what she finds empowering and what she does not. Posing on the cover of Maxim is I guess some form of girl power. Posing similarly in Michael Bay’s robot movies is clearly not. Kissing Amanda Seyfried and playing a zombie cheerleader is apparently Fox’s brand of empowerment.
“If I was to have a message, it would be to be a different kind of role model to girls. With ‘Jennifer’s Body,’ I want to say, It’s O.K. to be different from how you’re supposed to be. I worry that’s totally lost.”
Speaking as someone who has seen Jennifer’s Body, any message was indeed lost on me.
In 2010, Fox co-starred opposite Josh Brolin in the comic book Western, Jonah Hex. Continuing her special brand of feminism, Fox played a pouty prostitute. Fox described the experience:
“I had my first sex scene in that movie. I had on underwear and silicone covers that you wear over your breasts. I would never be naked in a film. You should never say never, but my body parts are all I have left that are only mine. The world owns everything else.”
Jonah Hex was Fox’s second shot at stardom outside of the Transformers franchise. And it bombed big time. The verdict was in. Fox could not deliver male audiences. Good thing she had the Transformers to fall back on.
Only she didn’t. Instead of having Fox’s character killed off in the third Transformers movie, Bay simply replaced her with a lingerie model.
Later, it was revealed that the decision was actually made by Steven Spielberg. Spielberg took offense at Fox’s Hitler comments. Which is understandable. He demanded that Bay fire Fox.
So the Transformer series carried on without Fox. And Fox faded into near obscurity. She popped up from time to time in movies like This is 40. But only in minor roles. In 2013, she was reduced to video game commercials:
Oh how the bitchy have fallen!
Having fallen short of the A-list and fallen off of the B and C-lists, Fox had no choice but to apologize to Michael Bay. Which she did. Publically. Bay welcomed her back with open arms. Not to Transformers which was no carrying on without its temperamental star, LaBeouf. Instead, Bay used the reunion with Fox to get some buzz for his new take on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Fox was cast as wannabe Lois Lane, April O’Neil.
Word of Bay’s plans for the Ninja Turtles leaked early angering fans. According to the leaks, the new turtles would be aliens, not mutants. Fans of the 80s toys and cartoons cried foul. Expectations for the movie were not overly high. The release date was moves around repeatedly which is never a good sign. Advance word of mouth was not good. And the reviews were largely negative. And yet, the damn thing opened to over $70 million in the US surpassing all expectations.
So, does this blockbuster hit put Fox on the A-list? Hell no. This is Transformers all over again. Nostalgia is selling tickets, not Fox. However, this franchise should prove to be a new gravy train that she can ride for a while. It should put her back in the spotlight and give her a few more shots at cracking the A-list.
Do I expect she will ever actually make it? No. Being on the A-list doesn’t make you a great actor. But it does require a certain amount of screen presence. And Fox doesn’t have it. She’s easy on the eyes and that’s about it. But even if the A-list isn’t in the cards for Fox, there’s no doubt that her future looks a lot rosier than it did a week ago. Ninja Turtles probably extended her career in mainstream movies by 3-5 years.