<i>Transformers 4</i> &amp; <i>5</i> Shooting Back to Back, Maybe with Jason Statham

Hot on the heels of confirmation that Hasbro has been talking with Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg about a fourth film in the Transformers series, Variety now reports Paramount Pictures has plans to shoot the fourth and fifth installments back to back to save costs and give toymakers enough time to prepare products.

Shia LaBeouf won't be returning to the franchise, and word is that Hasbro and Paramount would like Crank and Killer Elite star Jason Statham to replace him, although no official offers have been made. On the subject of returning talent, Bay hasn't officially opted out of directing the next two movies.

They're potentially set to begin shooting in 2012 or 2013, although nothing has been set in stone (or at least announced publicly). There's also talk that Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon screenwriter Ehren Kruger has an idea that Paramount executives are excited about.

With so much up in the air, it's fair to assume any of these elements may change, but the idea of a full-fledged action star taking over the spotlight surrounded by giant robots does have an interesting sound to it.

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