BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — If stares were lasers, Megan Fox would be Swiss cheese.
Every eye — man and woman — is glued to the 23-year-old actress, wearing a purple dress that clings to her like a second skin, as she glides through the main lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel on her way to do an interview to promote her latest film, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
Fox, basically unknown until she signed on as the love interest for Shia LaBeouf's character in the 2007 film Transformers, is hot now. You can't turn on a TV entertainment show or pick up a magazine without seeing her image.
The native of Rockwood, Tenn. (about 50 miles west of Knoxville), is Hollywood's cutie du jour, a stunning brunette who can guarantee an audience, especially the young male demographic for this action film.
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Fox is smart enough to know her popularity and sexy image come from being cast in movies like the two Transformers films from director Michael Bay.
"The character is sexy, but women in movies in general are sexy, especially Michael's movies. He knows how to make movies that get people into the theater and that's part of it. That's part of the formula," Fox says.
And a big part of that formula is to put Fox in skimpy clothes and sell the image, such as with a photo shoot for Maxim magazine. In the first film, the audience was introduced to her bent over the engine of a car. This time she's draped over a motorcycle.
None of this escapes Fox. She jokes about how even the wardrobe selection process turned into a fashion show. She had to wear each item — from pink belly shirt to white shorts — to Bay's office, which was filled with men auditioning for roles in the movie.
She doesn't question Bay because of how big an impact the first film had on her career.
"The success, and how well the film was accepted, opened a lot of doors for me career-wise. I have been able to be part of some films that I really don't think I deserve to be a part of, and that is greatly, solely, due to the success of Transformers," Fox says.
One of this films she doesn't think she deserves is Jonah Hex, the upcoming Josh Brolin movie based on the DC Comics character. She plays Leila, a twisted love interest for Hex.
"It's really not that sexy a role. It is pretty serious. It is about the most serious thing I have done so far," Fox says. "In general, actors don't get those kinds of opportunities. For me to have that is a huge blessing, and that is because of this movie."
The success of Transformers boosted Fox's celebrity status to the point that the paparazzi documents her every move. It has taken a little adjustment to get used to having a camera in her face after she leaves Whole Foods or comes out of Rite Aid with her shampoo bottles.
It's new, but not too bad. Fox adjusted to that part of show business pretty quickly.
Fox rarely watches her film work. The actress has a phobia about seeing herself on the big screen. And, because Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen also will be shown on IMAX, that's a pretty large screen.
It took a glass of champagne for Fox to get up the nerve to attend the screening of the movie in London.
"I was really, really pleasantly surprised. Halfway through it I was generally overcome with genuine emotion. I wanted to hug Michael because I had gratitude for him for making this movie because it so far surpassed my expectations," Fox says.
Seeing the film also brought back memories of workdays that were so long she didn't have time to exercise. Then there was the threat of production shutting down when co-star LaBeouf hurt his hand in an automobile accident.
Despite all that, Fox found filming the special-effects-heavy sequel easier than the first Transformers.
"It was definitely easier because we knew how the robots moved. We'd seen all the robots. Once you are able to visualize something it is a lot easier to sort of fake interacting with it. I think those scenes are some of the easiest to shoot. I enjoy them," Fox says.
There was no such concerns with her next film, Jennifer's Body, written by Diablo Cody. Fox calls the black comedy "one of the most interesting films coming out this year."