You've probably heard the earth-shattering news by now: Megan Fox will not be returning for the next Transformers epic. It's been breathlessly reported in the entertainment press -- here at Cinematical, Peter Hall shared that the world was "rocked to its core ("And by 'rocked to its core,'" he wrote. "I really mean that all (vaguely) interested parties let out a resounding, 'Oh, okay, that makes sense'") and Eric D. Snider noted that Fox's initial casting by director Michael Bay was "magic, fate, luck, destiny, all of those things. Highly attractive 20-year-old girls who want to get into show business but aren't very talented are hard to find. Especially in Los Angeles."

Snark aside, however, it looks like the Bay-Fox parting of the ways may be the result of the ugliest sort of Hollywood behavior. A source close to Fox reportedly told entertainment blog TheWrap that she quit the franchise because Bay was "verbally abusive" to her, and that she "she had enough and decided to get out early." This follows early rumors (spun by columnist Nikki Finke, who has a close relationship with Paramount chairman Brad Grey) that Fox had actually been canned by the studio. After calling Bay a "tyrant" and comparing him to Hitler and Napoleon in a magazine interview, it's not difficult to believe that they'd drop her.

But Fox's publicist has rushed to state that the actress "left the project on her own and wishes the franchise well," and it appears that the first part of that statement, at least, may be true. Bay has a reputation for being an egregious example of the loud, aggressive, yelling-at-the-talent sort of director, and word is that his gal-actors find him especially obnoxious. A source told TheWrap that Bay "wants his actresses to look a certain way, and if they can't meet his absurd standards of beauty, he gets rid of them," and Fox told Allure magazine that she was concerned about getting skin cancer because of Bay's insistence that she maintain her unnatural Hollywood tan.

Meanwhile, Deadline reports that Bay has miraculously found another skinny, faux-tanned, marginally talented girl to replace the irreplaceable Megan Fox -- Victoria's Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Bay's other two top contenders were also both models.) Bay, whose personal dating history includes a number of Playboy centerfolds, Lindsay Lohan, and Pam Anderson, seems to have a fairly predictable yardstick where female "talent" is concerned.

So far, Huntington-Whiteley's only acting role has been ... in an sexy underwear ad. I guess this (watch it below) counts as an audition tape.

So what do you think -- is Bay within his rights to only hire lingerie models for his films? Does Fox make a valid point when she calls Bay a tyrant? Should the ladies here at Cinematical sue Erik Davis and Scott Weinberg for demanding that we wash their cars wearing tube tops and cutoffs? (Actually, now that I think about it, we may actually have a case ...)

CATEGORIES Casting, Cinematical