EW Staff
April 20, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

In anticipation of Transformers — that potential July 4 blockbuster about warring alien machines — we could’ve chatted with Michael Bay or star Shia LaBeouf. But instead, we enlisted screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (M:I-3) to help us get the movie’s biggest star, notoriously reclusive Optimus Prime — leader of the heroic Autobots — to sit down for a rare, exclusive Q&A.

Do you keep in touch with your old Autobot buddies from the show?
We have a monthly poker game in Atlantic City. I was also best man at Ratchet’s wedding.

What is it like to work with Michael Bay? We hear the guy can be a wee bit demanding.
Like most humans, there’s more to him than meets the eye. Mike is nearly as attracted to Ferraris as Ironhide was in high school.

Was it awkward at all between you and Decepticon leader Megatron at the craft-services table?
We lunched separately. Megatron is a Method actor; it is therefore wise to keep one’s distance when he’s in character or he will vaporize you.

You got to work with Orson Welles in 1986’s Transformers: The Movie. Any other run-ins with cinema visionaries?
I did some uncredited stunt work with Sly Stallone in Over the Top.

Ever crank-call the GoBots?
Now you’re being preposterous. That’s just a cartoon.

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