""WITH her azure eyes and sexy tattoos, the aptly-named Megan Fox certainly gives the giant CGI robots of the new live-action Transformers flick a run for their money in the attention-grabbing stakes.
In her first leading Hollywood role, the former waitress and model plays Mikaela Banes, who is described as 'the hottest girl in high school who is not engrossed in the usual girlie interests and pursuits'.
"She likes to work with cars, and she gets sucked into the whole robot world by accident," confirms the 21-year-old actress.
Mikaela takes a ride from Shia LaBeouf's Sam Witwicky in his newly acquired 1974 Camaro - which is really Transformer scout Bumblebee. And so the adventure begins. Fox describes her character as "tough, but she's a sweet girl and when Sam is ridiculed by her boyfriend she sticks up for him and breaks up with her boyfriend . . . all very melodramatic."
But, stresses the actress, her character is more than simply the requisite hot female lead who tags along with the male hero.
"I think the writers wrote her as a very respectable female character," explains Fox. "She was strong, she was different and she was relatable in all of these things. It wasn't me, because the writers did a really good job."
Transformers director Michael Bay had originally auditioned Fox for the remake of The Amityville Horror.
"Given that Michael's name was attached to the script and that it was planned as a summer release, I knew the movie was going to be huge," says Fox.
"I just had no idea how much of a part I was going to play in relation to the whole thing or what I was in for."
Bay, however, had no doubts about throwing the inexperienced actress in at the deep end.
"Even though Megan's relatively new to movies, she's incredibly poised and confident, and it's not phony," Bay is quoted as saying.
"I also liked that no-one really knew about her, which can be scary when you think about giving such a big part to someone untested, but the pairing with Shia really worked. They had a great energy."
Fox got to do a lot of her own stunts in the Transformers film, which, she says, had its price. "I lost my two big toenails at one point," she laughs. "Not to, like, a specific accident. It was just the constant running in the wardrobe boots, which rubbed my toenails off."
One challenge was acting opposite giant robots that weren't there but would be added in post-production as computer animation.
"All the robots were represented by window-washing poles," explains Fox. "And they were all height-appropriate to each character. We were looking in the right direction.
"I never had a tennis ball, but Industrial Light & Magic [motion picture visual effects company] has these red glowing balls. They would attach them to the top, and that's the face.
"The rest you sort of create in your imagination, and we have to create together, because we have to move at the same time, so it was difficult."
Fox says she tends to form friendships with men when shooting movies, and finds it hard to make female friends on set.
"I go to the set thinking I'm not going to have any female friends, because that's the reality of the business," she says. "From what I've experienced, women aren't good friends to one another.
"When guys want to hang out with you because your personality is badass, women immediately hate you."
Logic says that's not the only reason men want to hang out with Fox, who has previously appeared in a five-page spread for the November 2005 issue of the popular men's magazine FHM and was ranked number 68 on the FHM 100 Sexiest Women of 2006.
But while she has been labelled one of the hottest new actresses to hit the big screen in years, Fox is modest about her appearance.
"I don't feel sexy like that, especially not when you're getting ready to film and there's a crew of 1000 men just waiting for you to lean over the boot of a car," she insists.
The actress also gets to show off some of her tattoos in the film. She has nine in total - including a picture of Marilyn Monroe and a quote from Shake-speare's King Lear.
"Marilyn was one of the first people I ever saw on TV when I was a baby," she explains. "My mum says whenever I heard her voice I would cry. I had immense empathy for her.
"The Shakespeare quote says, 'We will all laugh at gilded butterflies', which to me serves as a warning to be part of Hollywood, and to be wary of it, because you become one of those girls who falls into it and takes it too far and becomes obsessed by it. Then the world ends up laughing at you. You get lost."
So how does she avoid it? "I don't go out, and I don't associate myself with any of those people who do any of that stuff," she says.
For all that, now she has caught the acting bug Fox has no plans on quitting the movies.
"I just feel like I'm destined to be part of this for some reason," she smiles. "I can't tell you what the reason is just now, but I just feel like in this business you can be beneficial to so many people, a mass amount of people.
"I feel that's something I want to be able to accomplish."
Giant killer robots don't seem to phase the Tennessee-born beauty, and it's unlikely that the perils of pending Holly-wood super-stardom will affect her either.
The actress admits she experimented with drugs when she was younger, though that's not something which interests her anymore.
"I've done drugs, and that's how I know that I don't like them," she reveals. "I wanted to try several things and make an informed decision, but I really didn't enjoy anything other than marijuana. I don't even think of it as a drug - it should be legalised."
One scourge seemingly affecting several of Holly-wood's young celebrities is cocaine, and according to Fox, use of the drug is rampant in Tinseltown.
"Cocaine is back with a vengeance," she reveals. "Celebrities aren't trying to hide it, except when people have camera phones.
"I know about five people who aren't on drugs today, and I'm one of them."
Finally, a celebrity who isn't afraid to tell the truth. "I'm blunt and maybe too honest," admits Fox.
"But being outspoken is good for women, particularly when it comes to sex.
"Women are supposed to be on magazine covers dressed provocatively, but they're not allowed to talk about sex? That double standard angers me."
• Transformer is on general release from today
Bay gives you more bang for your bucks
Transformers (12A) ****
Director Michael Bay, who attempted to destroy planet Earth in Armageddon, once again indulges his love of outrageous action sequences and deafening sound in this live action blockbuster based on the adventures of the "robots in disguise".
His mantra - the bigger the explosion, the bigger the thrills - works surprisingly well in Transformers.
In the first hour alone, there are more slam-bang thrills and spills than most of the other big summer releases combined.
Screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman strike just the right tone - slightly tongue-in-cheek, tapping into a rich vein in broad humour - balancing the digital effects with a fairy tale love story and a touching friendship between a teenager and his robot protector.
Kids are going to love all of the destruction and mayhem.
No doubt the newly revamped line of action figures and other merchandise will be flying off the shelves right up to Christmas.
A stonking new movie franchise is born.
Feuding robot clans, The Autobots and the Decepticons, head for Earth to continue their titanic battle, both sides determined to recover an artefact in the possession of high school student, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), the great grandson of a famous captain.
Unfortunately, Sam doesn't realise the significance or the value of the item in his possession - a pair of spectacles ingrained with a map that gives the location of the AllSpark - a giant cube containing the very essence of Transformer life.
Indeed, Sam is much more interested in trying to impress Mikaela (Megan Fox), one of the most beautiful girls at school, who has the kind of exposed midriff that convinces young girls to crash-diet.
When noble Autobot leader Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) and his mechanised compatriots - Bumblebee, Ironhide, Jazz and Ratchet - finally make contact with Sam, the youngster begins his pivotal role in the unfolding drama.
Meanwhile, the nasty and pernicious Decepticons, led by the power-hungry Megatron (voiced by Hugo Weaving), pursue Sam with their own evil agenda.
Transformers is a lot of fun.
Bay orchestrates the numerous action sequences with directorial brio, from the opening showdown on an air force base to the climactic showdown, which reduces an entire city to flaming rubble.
LaBeouf is an instantly likeable hero, using comic timing to great effect as he stutters and blusters in his attempts to woo Fox's pouting honey.
There are nice comic interludes, like when Sam's pet Chihuahua, Mojo, cocks its leg on Ironside.
"You have a rodent infestation. He leaked lubricant all over my foot," growls the robot, preparing to terminate the tiny lifeform.
Sam manages to save his pet in the nick of time. "That's gonna rust!" grumbles Ironside as he shakes off the excess.
Steve Jablonsky's rousing orchestral score and the thunderous sound effects rattle the teeth in your head as the digital wizards at Industrial Light & Magic create dazzling scenes of carnage.""