A few years back, Megan Fox awoke to an epiphany: “I think that I can find the ark of the covenant,” she told herself.
There was a method to her apparent madness. Raised in the Pentecostal faith, Fox longed to recover an artifact that would validate the biblical stories of her childhood. A private tour of the Great Pyramid of Giza she’d taken while filming “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” in her early 20s had left her awe-struck and eager to explore more.
Then while watching “Ancient Aliens” on the History Channel — and she knows how this sounds — Fox saw the light.
“I’ve always been really been passionate about ancient peoples and ancient religions and ancient magic practices, not knowing what to do with it,” she said. “And so I started pitching a show.”
In the four-part “Legends of the Lost,” airing Tuesdays in December on the Travel Channel, Fox unfurls some of her alternative historical theories while tapping into emerging research — for instance, the possibility of female Viking warriors, the sonic healing properties of Stonehenge, the existence of prehistoric giants in North America and the likelihood that the Trojan War actually occurred.
“I feel drawn into archaeological mysteries, and I feel that I have a purpose there,” she said. “If it’s to be a literal Indiana Jones, who’s to say?”
Fox’s star ascended with the “Transformers” franchise, whose director, Michael Bay, she had a public falling out with after comparing him to Hitler in a 2009 interview; they later mended ways, and she went on to appear in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” of which he was a producer.
But at an Upper East Side bar recently, her conversation veered toward Homer’s “Iliad,” the Shroud of Turin and quantum physics. Visiting from Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband, the actor Brian Austin Green, and their three young sons, Fox, 32, discussed the root of her archaeological obsession, Hollywood’s treatment of women and why she has not spoken out during the #MeToo movement.
Here are edited excerpts from the conversation.
How did “Ancient Aliens,” a controversial show about prehistoric extraterrestrial visits to Earth, inspire you to create your own series?
I had never read Erich von Däniken’s book [“Chariots of the Gods”], and that’s the first time I had ever heard of the ancient astronaut theory [which posits that extraterrestrials brought their pyramid- and monolith-building technologies to Earth during prehistoric times]. It expanded my consciousness about things I had always questioned and provided a steppingstone to keep exploring.
You’ve said that your theories are alternative, while your production team is more science-based. Have they ever gone, “Megan, you’re off the wall?”
They don’t say that I’m off the wall because they’ve been around me enough to see that even if they perceive things I say to be kooky or strange, they always come true. So I’m kind of a revered psychic at this point with everyone.
This is your first time working as an executive producer and creator, and it feels like something of a career shift. What other surprises do you have in store?
There’s actually a [South] Korean movie where I’m playing [Marguerite Higgins of The New York Herald Tribune, who in 1951 became the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting, for her coverage of the Korean War]. They brought it to me, and I was like, “Are you sure I’m the right person to cast for this?” [Laughs] I usually get offered the mean girl, the evil queen, the stripper, the prostitute with a heart of gold. But it’s something fresh, it’s something that’s unpredictable, and that is exciting.
How would you like to be seen?
That’s a good spiritual question. And it’s a tricky question because I don’t know that it matters. Naturally it does matter to us, but I don’t think that it should. So that’s what I’m working on transcending.
You’ve spoken out strongly about how Hollywood undervalues women and perhaps paid a price in terms of your career. In fact, an article last year suggested that the public owes you an apology. Do we?
I mean, that’s a lovely sentiment, and I appreciate that. [Long pause] I don’t know that I want to feel anything about it because my words were taken and used against me in a way that was — at that time in my life, at that age and dealing with that level of fame — really painful. I don’t want to say this about myself, but let’s say that I was ahead of my time and so people weren’t able to understand. Instead, I was rejected because of qualities that are now being praised in other women coming forward. And because of my experience, I feel it’s likely that I will always be just out of the collective understanding. I don’t know if there will ever be a time where I’m considered normal or relatable or likable.
Even with the #MeToo movement, and everyone coming out with stories — and one could assume that I probably have quite a few stories, and I do — I didn’t speak out for many reasons. I just didn’t think based on how I’d been received by people, and by feminists, that I would be a sympathetic victim. And I thought if ever there were a time where the world would agree that it’s appropriate to victim-shame someone, it would be when I come forward with my story.
Is there anything you’d like to say here?
No, because I also feel like I’m not the universal hammer of justice. This is not to say that other people shouldn’t do what they feel is right. But in my circumstance, I don’t feel it’s my job to punish someone because they did something bad to me.
You have three sons. Is raising good men something you think about?
[Sounding incredulous] Do I think about it? Yeah, I think about it a lot. I’m the window through which they see all women now. I’m the introduction to the divine feminine. And if they feel safe with me as the main woman in their life, it’s likely they’ll feel safe with women in general. If they see their father being respectful of me, it’s likely that that’s what they’ll think all men should do. It sounds simple. It’s probably not.