The Transformers Movie You Forgot Judd Nelson Starred In - Exclusive

You might remember Judd Nelson from his days as the fresh-faced "Brat Pack" bad-boy, palling around with the likes of Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, and Ally Sheedy. Or maybe you caught him as a villain in the Lifetime thriller Girl in the Basement. Surely you remember the classic hits as well, The Breakfast Club, St. Elmo's Fire — both in 1985 — and later cult classics like New Jack City. All that being said, there's more than meets the eye with this actor. The same year Nelson found fame, he also did some little-known voice work for The Transformers:The Movie animated film, which was released in 1986. 

Nelson was a wet behind the ears 26-year-old when he went into the booth to transform into "Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime," helping lay the groundwork for a film franchise that endures to this day. But for someone else on that project, it would be their last: the legendary Orson Welles, who wrote and directed what has long been considered one of the greatest films in history, Citizen Kane

Yes, that Welles, of War of the Worlds. Welles, who first found fame on the radio, did his last bit of voice work on this animated film about yet another group of aliens come to earth to do battle. However, almost as soon as the immortal movie icon finished his lines for The Transformers, the star was found dead in his Hollywood home, per the Los Angeles Times

Nelson sat down with Nicki Swift to reflect on this interesting bit of Hollywood trivia.

Orson Welles and Judd Nelson's 'Transformers' movie connection

Judd Nelson appreciates the change of pace in animated films, as it tends to take pressure off actors. "It's really fun because you're working with very talented people. You don't have to go through hair and makeup and wardrobe. You just sit there, however you are," the star said of later work on Family Guy

When the "Brat Packer" originally heard the legendary Orson Welles was signed on for The Transformers: The Movie, he used his new fame and got onboard. "I heard Orson Welles was doing it and I go, 'I want to get in this movie any way [I can],'" he told Nicki Swift." But it didn't go as Nelson hoped. Nelson's Transformers co-star was perhaps less enthused. By 1985, Hollywood had frustrated Welles. The legendary auteur's projects languished and self-financing had brought him to ruin. That same year he "died alone and broke," per The Guardian

For Welles, the Transformers role might have been a simple necessity. "Welles worked alone," Nelson told Nicki Swift, explaining that the legend showed up before the rest of the cast and immediately began giving directions, allegedly saying something along the lines of, "I'll give you three readings on every line and we'll move on to the next line." 

This was no passion project for an icon in his last role, and Nelson never got to share a booth with his hero. It was two Hollywood ships passing in the night, in more ways than one. Of the missed opportunity, Nelson told us, "I would have loved to have met him."