According to The Hollywood Reporter, candidates for this particular role included Hunter Parrish of Weed, Australian actor Brenton Thwaites, Terra Nova's Landon Liboiron, and Luke Grimes of Taken 2.
But now it's Jack Reynor who has the part, to which we can't yet attach a name. The American-born actor was raised in Ireland, where he starred in What Richard Did, a film Bay cites as bringing Reynor to his attention.
Here's the word straight from Bay's official site:
I just hired a great new actor for Transformers 4 to star against Mark Wahlberg. Jack Reynor, he is an Irish kid that came to America with 30 bucks in his pocket. Pretty ballsy. Seriously who does that? Anyway I spotted him in a great little Irish movie WHAT RICHARD DID. This kid is the real deal.
Transformers 4, is not a reboot. That word has been floating around on the net.
This movie takes place exactly 4 years after the war in Chicago. The story makes a very natural transition, and reason as to why we have a whole new cast. This Transformers will feel very different then the last three. We are embarking on a new trilogy.
As Bay says, Transformers 4 is meant to start a new set of three movies based on the Hasbro toys. While Bay will doubtless stay aboard as a producer for the fifth and sixth installments, he has emphatically stated that this fourth round would be his last as director. Given that he also said that in no uncertain terms with Transformers: Dark of the Moon, though, there's no guarantee Bay won't end up with half a dozen of these movies under his belt.
Reynor and the actress who plays his ladyfriend will be starring in all three films, however, as Paramount is undoubtedly locking the actors into three-picture deals, as was the case with Shia LaBeouf. As for just who the female lead will be, when Reynor was first listed as a candidate to star, the actresses testing for the role reportedly included Isabelle Cornish, Alex Frnka, Margaret Quallay, Nicola Peltz, and Gabriella Wilde.
The new human faces will be joining yet more indecipherable robotic faces defined by whirring bits and glowing bits. Meaning there will be no shortage of new Autobots and Decepticons, too. Hasbro CEO and Transformers producer Brian Goldner explained last year that a dip in toy sales for Dark of the Moon means new characters to rejuvenate the brand rather than expecting folks to buy yet another Optimus Prime toy.
Transformers 4, which seems destined to end up titled Trans4mers, is scheduled to arrive in theaters on June 29, 2014.