If there’s one thing Michael Bay is known for, its his love of blowing things up in the loudest, shiniest, most spectacular ways imaginable. So it may come as a bit of a surprise that Bay’s planned follow-up to his huge Transformers franchise will be a small, Pulp Fiction-esque picture titled Pain & Gain, with an estimated budget of just $20 million. Then again, maybe it’s not such a shocker — even Bay’s gotta take a break from giant fighting alien robots sometime, right? More details on the project after the jump.

Pain & Gain has actually been bouncing around Bay’s schedule for some time now. The director had initially planned to squeeze it in between the second and third Transformers films, but was forced to postpone the film when the studio insisted on a 2011 release for Dark of the Moon. Now that he’s done with the franchise, however, he’s free to work on whatever he likes. When MTV’s Josh Horowitz brought up Pain & Gain during an interview, Bay responded, “I’m still going to do it. I’m going to do it next.” He gave the $20 million figure in a follow-up question.

Based on a 1999 Miami News story, Pain & Gain centers around two ‘roided up bodybuilders who become involved in an extortion ring and a kidnapping gone terribly awry. Bay has said that Pain & Gain would be a dark comedy or a character piece a la Fargo — a major departure from the blockbuster extravaganzas we’ve come to expect from the director. In fact, at $20 million, Pain & Gain would be the lowest-budgeted film in Bay’s oeuvre since 1995’s Bad Boys. Revenge of the Fallen cost ten times as much at $200 million.

Bay also dropped a couple of other tidbits during the interview. First, he dismissed the idea that he and Taylor Lautner would be collaborating any time soon — “I meet a lot of actors, and who knows” was his diplomatic response. Also not on his upcoming slate is any type of musical: “I like musicals but I don’t think I want to do one.” What may be coming up for Bay is another Bad Boys. “We’re still talking about it,” he said. “It’s hard to get our schedules together, but it’s great working with those guys.”

Discuss: Would you watch Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain? What do you think a small, character-driven black comedy from Bay will be like? I, for one, am very curious to see what’ll happen to Bay’s well-known style when you strip away one of its most distinctive elements.

[via The Film Stage]

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