Ron Perlman has been tapped to voice Optimus Primal in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, Collider has exclusively learned.
Optimus Primal is the fearless leader of the Maximals, and though Perlman did not voice Primal in the original Beast Wars: Transformers series — that was Garry Chalk — he did voice the character in the animated series Transformers: Power of the Primes. And for those wondering, yes, Peter Cullen will return to voice Optimus Prime in the character’s G1 robot form, and the movie’s plot will reveal why the Cybertronian has a connection to Earth and humanity.
The next live-action Transformers movie will center on the Beast Wars, and the globetrotting story — which is set in the ’90s — will introduce the Maximals, Predacons, and Terrorcons to the existing battle on Earth between Autobots and Decepticons. Rise of the Beasts will be led by rising stars Anthony Ramos (In the Heights) and Dominique Fishback (Judas and the Black Messiah), and Steven Caple Jr. (Creed II) is directing from a script by Darnell Metayer and Josh Peters, who worked off an earlier draft by Joby Harold.
In addition to leading the Maximals, Optimus Primal is the captain of the spaceship Axalon. In battle, he is a brave and honorable warrior — loyal to his friends and respectful of his enemies — though he’s willing to do whatever it takes to fight the good fight. In Transformers lore, he once saved the life of his legendary namesake, Optimus Prime, and he had a rivalry with Megatron, the commander of the Predacons. Though the Axalon computers suggested his beast mode be a bat, he rejected it in favor of the more powerful gorilla.
Michael Bay, who directed the first five films in the live-action Transformers franchise, will produce under his Bay Films banner alongside Tom DeSanto and Don Murphy, Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian, and Duncan Henderson. Meanwhile, Steven Spielberg will executive produce with Hasbro’s Brian Goldner and Skydance’s David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Don Granger, as well as Brian Oliver, Bradley J. Fischer and Valerii An of New Republic Pictures.
The Transformers franchise is based on Hasbro’s popular toy line, and Paramount will release Transformers: Rise of the Beasts in theaters on June 24, 2022. It’ll be the first new film in the franchise since Bumblebee, which was released back in December 2018.
Perlman is the gravel-voiced character best known for starring in the Hellboy movies, though he goes way back with director Guillermo del Toro outside of that franchise, having starred in the director’s first film, Cronos. They’d go on to work together again on Blade II and Pacific Rim, and Perlman will soon be seen in del Toro’s next film Nightmare Alley, as well as his stop-motion animated Pinocchio movie, which is expected to be released on Netflix later this year.
Perlman also played Gnarlack in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and co-starred in Nicolas Winding Refn‘s crime classic Drive. He’ll soon be seen alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence in Adam McKay‘s Netflix movie Don’t Look Up. He’s represented by the Gersh Agency, LINK Entertainment, Empire Agency and DPN Talent, and Paramount has confirmed his casting in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.
Last week we attended a virtual press conference for Transformers: Rise of the Beasts and learned a lot of new information. Our full report includes information on the new Autobots, the film’s main villain, and more.
[Collider’s Steven Weintraub contributed to this report.]
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