By Rebecca Keegan
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — A man attacked director Michael Bay with an air conditioner on the Hong Kong set of “Transformers: The Age of Extinction” on Thursday.
A statement the studio released described “a bizarre encounter with a man allegedly under the influence of a narcotic substance.”
“The man, who had earlier accosted several other crew members, rushed onto the set in Quarry Bay and swung the air conditioning unit directly at Bay’s head,” the statement said. “The director ducked and wrested the air conditioner from his attacker, preventing what could have been a serious accident. The company’s security team quickly stepped in and subdued the assault.”
The police arrested the man and two of his companions and the production immediately resumed filming without further incident, according to Paramount.
Several news reports said that the attacker had demanded a large sum of money from Bay. When asked about those accounts, a Paramount spokeswoman replied that she “cannot speak to that at this time.”
Bay, 48, and his the cast and crew had just moved the production to Hong Kong this week after 4 months of filming in Arizona, Utah, Texas, Michigan, Illinois and Washington.
The science fiction movie, which stars Mark Wahlberg as a troubled inventor and is set for a U.S. release on June 27, is the latest high-profile production to partner a U.S. studio with Chinese financiers, in this case Paramount Pictures and the state-backed China Movie Channel and U.S./Chinese streaming company Jiaflix.
The last “Transformers” movie, “Dark of the Moon,” was a hit in China, grossing $165 million there.