Megan Fox’s career is one that, when viewed through a 2018 lens, is pretty distressing.
One of her earliest appearances on our screens was as an extra in a strip club scene in Michael Bay’s Bad Boys II. According to Fox, Bay had her dance under a waterfall in heels and a bikini. She was in tenth grade at the time of production.
After an audition that involved being filmed washing a Ferrari in a bikini, Bay would cast Fox in the first two Transformers movies. Shortly after the release of the second, Fox compared Bay to Hitler in an interview and, in response, Bay posted an open letter to his website, allegedly written by an anonymous group of people who’ve worked on his movies, calling Fox an "unfriendly bitch," "dumb as a rock," and "classless." She was dropped from the third Transformers movie during rehearsals.
A few flops later, Fox, who had previously been one of the most talked about people in Hollywood, pretty much disappeared from the blockbuster landscape. Her biggest movies since have been the Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, which she was cast in after apologizing to Bay.
Fox has repeatedly talked about how she feels the general public’s perception of her differs from her reality. "People anticipate a shallowness [from me],” she told the LA Times when speaking on the way she’s treated because of her looks. “They anticipate a self-centeredness and a lack of self-awareness. It doesn't [...] matter what I say, or how eloquent a speaker I may be, or how positive my intentions may be. I'm going to be made into what people desire me to be.”
So it’s perhaps unsurprising that Fox believes the world around us also contains levels beyond our current understanding. Here is a (partial?) list of things she has said she believes in: The Ark of the Covenant, past lives, the theory of ancient alien astronauts, alien abductions, Bigfoot, spirits, faith healing, glossolalia, leprechauns, the Loch Ness Monster, the Bell Witch, psychic powers, and auras. Her interest in what she calls “alternative history” was apparently sparked while filming scenes at the Pyramids of Giza for whatever that second Transformers movie is called. While there, Fox says a “high ranking member” of Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities told her that the pyramids were actually constructed as some kind of power plant—a fact the Egyptian government has covered up.
She's channeled this interest into Legends of the Lost with Megan Fox, a four-part documentary series exploring historical mysteries, currently airing on the Travel Channel.
A Travel Channel show could be looked at as a sad chapter in the career of someone who was fronting blockbusters only a few years ago. But Fox has, for years, talked about her desire to further pursue her interest in this stuff (at one point she said she would like to work for VICE as a journalist). And she’s finally getting to do that.
The series starts off reasonably enough, with the first episode exploring whether some Viking warriors might have actually been female. There are some odd moments—particularly when Fox spends a night alone in a Norwegian forest, embarking on a Viking vision quest—but her conclusions, for the most part, seemed pretty plausible to me (though I should point out that pretty much my entire knowledge of Vikings comes from the How to Train Your Dragon movies.)
Things get really wild in the second episode, which involves Fox getting to the bottom of what Stonehenge might have been built for (spoiler alert: some kind of acoustic healing device). The third examines whether the Trojan War actually happened (spoiler: probably), and the fourth focuses on whether a forgotten race of people used to live in the Americas (spoiler: they did, and they were giants).
It is delightfully bonkers. Is it possible to think of a weirder TV moment from this year than Megan Fox, looking over the data from an aerial survey she commissioned in an attempt to locate the burial site of Achilles, saying, “This strange shelf-like anomaly jutting out from the burial mound is consistent with the work of Ancient Greeks”?
But it’s not just that scene. At almost any point in any of the episodes, if you just describe what’s happening on your television, you are probably saying the weirdest combination of words you have ever said. For instance: “Megan Fox is in a forensic tent in the English countryside, examining skulls recovered from a mass war grave” or “Megan Fox is interviewing someone she introduced as ‘pioneering the science of giantology’” or “Megan Fox just said Stonehenge is ‘like an eternal sudoku puzzle’” or “Megan Fox is wearing an EEG helmet so a neuroscientist can see how her brain reacts to the sound of rocks being bashed together” or “Megan Fox is in the Turkish countryside, reading the Iliad on an iPad.” It’s television produced by Mad Libs, and I loved every second of it.
Sure. There's definitely an argument to be made that it’s irresponsible for a woman of Fox’s stature to use her public platform to contribute to the “experts are wrong” narrative. But we live in the age of GOOP, astrology, Fake News, and Creationism. The most powerful person in the world right now is a climate change denier who apparently believes exercise is bad because the human body contains a finite amount of energy, like a battery. It seems unlikely this show could do any additional damage at this point.
And I’d definitely rather be watching her do something she feels this passionately about than one of the 14 Transformers movies Michael Bay says have already been plotted.
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