Megan Fox and The Toxic Bandwagon That Followed Her

Published on August 25, 2020

Channing Tatum, Armie Hammer, and Brad Pitt… What do these actors have in common? They were rusty at the start of their actor careers. Understandably, they didn’t come out of the gate at their best. Audiences and critics routinely called them bland, and oftentimes, they were. Those three actors, however, had the chance to fail and grow, repeatedly. It’s no secret men get the chance to fall on their face and grow more when everybody, including every artist, should have the same opportunity to stumble and evolve. It’s an opportunity that hasn’t been afforded much to Megan Fox by the big studio system or her harshest critics. 

The Bad Press

Similar to Marilyn Monroe and the list goes on, the press wasn’t kind to Fox during the most commercial phase of her acting career. Admittedly, her introduction to audiences was through the lens and gaze of Michael Bay, whose films never have the juiciest roles for women. Bay is typically more focused on aesthetic than people in his movies. 

As a result, Fox had paper-thin material in her hands to play with at the start of her career. Ultimately, she did the best she or any other actor could do in the situation. Great actors have embarrassed themselves in the Transformers franchise and an array of Michael Bay movies, and yet, Fox did a respectable job in hindsight. Coming out of a Michael Bay movie not embarrassing yourself? No small feat, even for the greatest of actors. After Fox compared the director to a dictator, she was fired from the franchise. Bay’s on-set behavior is famously more unprofessional, but Fox faced consequences, Bay did not.

The Negative Side Effect

Following her Transformers days, Fox starred in a handful of studio movies that faced negative receptions, including the hellish Jonah Hex and the now cult favorite Jennifer’s Body. Unfortunately, as Fox told Refinery29 recently, these reactions had an effect on her confidence as an actor: 

“When you tell someone that they’re not good at something or that they’re deficient, they can absorb that and it can become their reality, and create a life that reflects that negative s— that you spoke about them.”

The Toxic Bandwagon 

During Fox’s first few years in pop culture, few people — myself included — said, “She’ll grow.” Far more than the most toxic of movie stars, Fox drew vitriol. Understandably, many of Fox’s movies and roles drew criticism. However, negative reactions often crossed personal lines. Here’s how Fox registers it all now: 

 “At the time, I would have appreciated some support; I was just stranded in open water on my own for so long. However, that built up so much strength. To have to go through a challenge like that, the resiliency that I have and the ability to survive really negative things with no support from outside forces made me a better person. So, I don’t regret it. Of course I look back and think — it would have been nice if any of you had seen this at that time that there was a bandwagon of absolute toxicity being spewed at me for years. But I appreciate the reversal of it. The culture is changing and society is changing.”

Let’s Talk About New Girl

Following Transformers, Fox did get star in another franchise with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Once again, not a substantial role in the slightest, but yet again, respectable performances keeping in mind her job in those movies. Fox has proven herself best as a charismatic screen-presence, though, outside of major films. She was a long-running guest star on New Girl, in which she gave one of her funniest and most authentic performances. She displayed movie star charisma, the kind that didn’t get the chance to show, flourish, or shine when surrounded by CG robots and turtles. 

Megan Fox is a movie star, but unlike the Channing Tatums and Armie Hammers of the world, she hasn’t gotten a dozen opportunities on the big screen to flex her acting muscles and hone her craft. Hopefully, she’ll get more of those opportunities in the future. Never write anybody off, especially before they’ve had the chance to fully prove themselves.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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