Here you go internet: you made this happen.

Whether this was a long-planned strategy, truly a response to online chatter, or just a great way to promote Michael Bay‘s own new movie Pain and Gain, Mark Wahlberg is the new Shia LaBeouf. Which is to say that he’s now the star of Transformers 4. (Pain and Gain also stars Wahlberg, along with The Rock.)

A press release has the details, which have been condensed below.

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You may recall recently that Mark Wahlberg was rumored for a big role in Michael Bay‘s Transformers 4. While Bay quickly killed the rumor, saying that he and Wahlberg were developing a different film together after working in tandem on Bay’s Pain and Gain, now there’s life to the story once again. And the new energy comes directly from Bay, who says that “internet chatter” gave him some ideas about putting Wahlberg in the fourth giant robot movie. Read More »

The news that Michael Bay would be back to direct Transformers 4 didn’t come as a surprise, exactly, but it did run counter to some of Bay’s earlier hesitations about returning for a fourth installment. In a new interview, Bay discusses why he decided to come back after all — as well as the resistance he got in trying to shake things up with the relatively low-budget, non-Transformers project Pain & Gain.

Meanwhile, director M. Night Shyamalan, who also knows a thing or two about critically derided franchises, is said to be mulling over three separate projects for his follow-up to After Earth. Could one of them be The Last Airbender 2? Uh, maybe, but it seems like a stretch. Read about both Bay and Shyamalan after the jump.

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Briefly: Paramount let Michael Bay make his “little movie” Pain and Gain, based on a wild and very messed-up, violent story of bodybuilders who get into kidnapping, torture, and murder, and now the studio has set a April 26, 2013 as the release date for the picture. That puts Bay’s film up against only romcom The Big Wedding, with Robert De Niro and Susan Sarandon. Pain and Gain stars Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson as the core kidnappers/crazy people, with support from Anthony MackieEd Harris, Rob CorddryKen JeongTony Shalhoub, and Bar Paly.

Deadline also briefly reported that Paramount had set March 28, 2014 as the release date for Darren Aronofsky‘s Noah. That original article has been pulled, so we’ll see if that date sticks or changes. (Edit: looking around more, I realized that date has been around for a while, so the reason Deadline pulled was likely a technical issue on their end. Pay attention only to the crazy bodybuilders, please.)

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was initially famous for his presence and swagger in the wrestling ring, and for his goofy but memorable tagline “can you smell what The Rock is cooking?”

As an actor the guy has taken a few steps beyond that initial image (only a few) but now Michael Bay is bringing him right back to that original question. In a new set photo from Pain and Gain, Bay’s ‘ripped from the headlines’ movie in which a couple juiceheads kidnap a local businessman, the Rock is cooking something crazy. See the full image below. Read More »

Earlier this week, we got our first look at a beefed-up Mark Wahlberg on the set of Pain & Gain, Michael Bay‘s relatively low-budget ($20 million) true crime black comedy, but his co-star Dwayne Johnson was nowhere to be seen. Now we also have a glimpse of Johnson in character, and Wahlberg may be wishing we didn’t. Because as buff as Wahlberg is, pretty much everyone looks shrimpy standing next to the 6’5″ former wrestling star.

As Wahlberg and Johnson push their bodies to ever more impressive levels of muscularity, however, the project’s also added another actor who doesn’t fit into the bodybuilding mold. Ken Jeong, who previously starred in Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, has just boarded the cast in a mysterious role. More after the jump.

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We’ve been dying to know just how in the hell Michael Bay‘s Pain and Gain would turn out, because the $20 million black comedy sounds so far out of the Transformers director’s usual wheelhouse. While we’ll have to wait a few more months for a proper trailer to get a better sense of whether or not Bay actually nails the alleged “Pulp Fiction meets Fargo” tone, the first photos of Mark Wahlberg on set as bodybuilder-turned-kidnapper Daniel Lugo have hit the web. Wahlberg doesn’t exactly look Schwarzenegger-in-his-prime buff here, but he looks pretty beefy nonetheless.

The snapshots also offer a glimpse of Rob Corddry as another former bodybuilder, though I’m a little disappointed to report that the comedic star doesn’t look any more bulked up than usual.

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Before Michael Bay makes the fourth Transformers movie, he’ll get to film a story that he’s had in his sights for quite some time. Pain and Gain is a fictional account of a true story in which a group of ‘roided Miami bodybuilders attempt to execute a plan to kidnap a businessman, but find things going very wrong. Reference the subheading of the article that inspired the film: “They were local bodybuilders with a penchant for steroids, strippers, and quick cash. And they became expert in the use of a peculiar motivational tool: Torture.”

The cast already features Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris and Rob Corddry. Now Bay has added the great Tony Shalhoub, who will play the target of the kidnapping plot, and model Bar Paly. Read More »

Anthony Mackie‘s one of those people that seems like he should be much more famous than he is. If you’ve ever seen his work, it’s obvious he’s got the charisma, the talent, and yes, the good looks to become a bona fide leading man. But while his Hurt Locker co-star Jeremy Renner’s been snapping up what feels like every franchise in Hollywood, Mackie’s yet to capture quite the same amount of attention. Happily, that’s starting to change, and it now looks like his next step toward the top will be a leading role opposite Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson in Michael Bay‘s Pain & Gain. More details after the jump.

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