The director of ''Transformers: Age of Extinction'' and executive producer of the new TNT series ''The Last Ship'' may have the world's coolest job: casting the vehicles that morph into autobots and decepticons

By Anthony Breznican
May 23, 2014 at 04:00 AM EDT

There’s no denying it: The Transformers movies have an erotic auto fixation. But what carmaker wants its sleekest vehicles to be publicly pulverized on screen? According to franchise director Michael Bay, all of them. ”The first time, I had to beg for vehicles,” he says. ”But now — I am not kidding you — every car company says, ‘We will fly out any car to show you so it can be in the movie.”’ With one catch, he adds: “As long as it’s one of the good guys.”

For Transformers: Age of Extinction, the fourth in the series, Bay managed to sign the Lamborghini Aventador as galactic bounty hunter Lockdown. ”He’s just a bounty hunter, so they were okay with that,” Bay says with a laugh.

Meanwhile, Daimler Trucks North America supplied a 2014 Freightliner Argosy for one of the villains (rumored to be Nemesis Prime). ”They spent literally a million and a half dollars designing [it], and they paid for it,” Bay says. ”They see the value of what this movie does for the car world.”

As for the heroes, Optimus Prime is now a Western Star truck (an homage to his 1980s toy form), while Bumblebee starts out as a modified ’67 Camaro, then morphs into a 2014 custom-made version. ”GM is actually shrinking the Camaro now, and we were like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa.’ So we worked with the designers, making it wider and neater,” Bay says. ”I told them, ‘Be prepared — customers are going to want this.”’