When Mark Wahlberg says Transformers: Age of Extinction is going to be the biggest movie of the summer, you pay attention. Especially if you are one of the film's co-stars.
"Well, I would listen to Mark Wahlberg," newcomer Nicola Peltz smiles. "But I thought the third one (Transformers: Dark of the Moon) was really amazing … I didn't think to myself, 'How are we going to follow the last one?' going into this. I was just happy to be part of it."
"I'm confident it's going to do very well," co-star Jack Reynor says chiming in, tossing a baseball while lounging on a couch in a downtown Toronto hotel.
Age of Extinction (a co-production between the U.S. and China) is the first in a proposed new trilogy set several years after the climactic events of Dark of the Moon.
Wahlberg plays Cade Yeager, an inventor who finds himself in a heap of trouble when he accidentally discovers a run-down truck that turns out to be an old Transformer.
Peltz stars as his onscreen daughter, Tessa, and Reynor plays her rally-car driver boyfriend, Shane Dyson.
Human villains — led by Kelsey Grammer — also show up in the new film in addition to new Decepticons and Dinobots. Stanley Tucci, T.J. Miller and Chinese star Li Bingbing also star.
“I think it was an interesting thing for Michael (and writer Ehren Kruger) to tackle this as a sequel and not a reboot,” Reynor tells QMI Agency.
"As it happens, there's a lot more to explore in the Transformers universe and I think we've got a really good, original story that does follow in a nice package from the previous films, but it's definitely something that's a different animal.
"It's raising the bar and upping the game, and I think that audiences are going to love it… But knowing it wasn't something completely new took away some of the pressures for us."
Working with Bay and Wahlberg on the new film also proved to be a great training ground for Peltz’ and Reynor’s relatively young careers (she's 19, he's 22).
"Mark was so amazing," Peltz says. "Everyone knows how talented he is and he's such a hard worker and he's so professional. Being new to the business and being able to learn from him has really been wonderful. I loved playing his daughter."
"It's a great privilege for us to be able to sit back and observe Mark and Michael and Stanley and Kelsey in their world and their environment … It's great to see how the industry relates to them. It’s a healthy, positive thing for us to engage with," Reynor adds.
Rapid advancement in technology also means that fans are going to see cutting-edge action on the big screen.
"At the moment, what you can do with technology in film is advancing at such an exponential rate and I think the effects in this film are bigger than any of the previous ones," Reynor says. "There are some pretty outstanding action sequences ... with your general Michael Bay Transformers elements — great explosions, car chases and, not to mention, the Dinobots…
"Technically, the way we shot this film is incredible … we’ve got some fun scenes in this one of us trying to escape from various threats."
The film also has an emotional anchor that sets it apart from its predecessors.
"Really at the core of the film is this idea that the Autobots are exiled and they've lost their faith in humanity and it’s the relationship between Mark, Nicola and myself that sets about restoring their faith," Reynor says.
"That grounds the film in something that is human. It's a bit of a departure in that way from the other films, but I think that's going to be interesting for people."
Bay shot the film with the RED Dragon camera, taking full advantage of the latest in 3D technology and ultra high-definition making the film even more of a standout from a technical standpoint.
"On top of that, we had a team come in from Austria with this amazing arm-mounted camera that could swing inside the car (during the chase scenes) and shoot everyone inside," Reynor says.
Peltz and Reynor are tight-lipped about the film's plot — as well as the two potential sequels — but say that there isn’t a reason the new trilogy can't bring back Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf).
"There's a plethora of possibilities that could happen with this franchise," Reynor says. "It's not one that's jaded and it's not one that's worn out; it really does still have a lot to say. So there's any number of possibilities there ... There's a lot more to tell about this universe and we'd love to be part of it if it happens."
"But we know nothing about the sequels," Peltz interjects. "Ask Michael, and if you find out let us know."
Transformers: Age of Extinction will be released June 27.