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‘Ambulance’ Director Michael Bay Candidly Related How He Had No Clue Who Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Was During Casting

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Michael Bay’s Ambulance, which our own Mike Ryan reviews as quite a ride, sounds like a throwback to 1980s and ’90s action films. It’s also a heist movie and stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Eiza Gonzalez, and Yahya Abdul-Matteen II, all likely dodging Bay’s customary booms and explosions. That last name’s exploded in the past handful of years, from Yahya’s turn as the naked blue god in HBO’s Watchmen to his turns in Candyman, Aquaman, and The Matrix: Resurrections. In short, the man’s a star and likely a legend in the making, but when it came time for Bay to cast Ambulance, he had no idea who Yahya was.

To Bay’s credit, however, he didn’t even try to cover this flub up while speaking at the Los Angeles premiere. There’s something for that unfiltered approach, and here’s how The Hollywood Reporter describes what went down when Bay had catch up on “his stuff” to realize that Yahya was his guy:

When it came to casting, Bay revealed to the crowd that he wasn’t previously familiar with Abdul-Mateen II. “[Universal Pictures president Peter Cramer] suggested I look at Yahya, and I’m like, ‘What’s a Yahya?’ He goes, ‘[He’s] an actor.’ I said, ‘I’ve never heard [of him],’” Bay recalled. “So, I see his stuff, and I’m like, ‘That guy is gonna be a movie star. I want to work with him.’”

And the rest, as they say, is history. For the record, Bay has also warned everyone that most of the film’s action includes genuine stunt work with minimal CGI. However, the CGI that does materialize ” is sh*t in this movie,” according to Bay. And “[t]here’s a couple shots that I wasn’t happy with, okay?” However, he’s got Yahya, so it’s entirely possible that no one will notice the funky bluescreen effects at all.

Ambulance arrives in theaters on April 8.

(Via Hollywood Reporter)

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