'Transformers: Rise of the Beasts' reconfigures for diverse cast


The Paramount Pictures "Transformers" film franchise has switched gears in its latest installment by adding more diversity to its lead roles, namely "In the Heights" actor Anthony Ramos and "Swarm" TV series actor Dominique Fishback.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, which arrives in theaters on June 9, is the seventh installment in the series based on the popular Hasbro toys, and is a sequel to Bumblebee.

"Why not have the movies look like what the people look like that are coming to see them in the theatres?" Ramos, a Latino of Puerto Rican descent, told Reuters in an interview at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

"Right, like people around the world can feel somebody in all parts of the world can watch this and go 'Yo, that's me. Oh man, that's me.' I feel, like, connected to that in a new way.”

Previous leads in the franchise included Holes actor Shia LaBeouf in the original “Transformers,” Mark Wahlberg in Transformers: Age of Extinction, and Hawkeye actor Hailee Steinfeld in Bumblebee.

Ramos portrays Noah, a street-smart kid from Brooklyn, while Black American actor Fishback plays the passionate researcher Ellen.

Problems arise when the two, who barely know one another, are thrown together with the shape-shifting robots.

"We were friends before this, both from Brooklyn," Fishback said, noting that her real-life friendship with Ramos made certain aspects of their on-screen relationship challenging to portray.

"On set, we're doing the dialogue like we've known each other a long time. He's (Director, Steven Caple Jr.) like, yo, yo, yo, this is the first time you all are meeting, so it was an exercise to try and detract from our real relationship in real life,” Ramos added.

The movie also features voiceovers by major stars, including Oscar-winning Everything Everywhere All at Once actor Michelle Yeoh as Airazor and Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage as the villain Scourge.

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