Megan Fox is back on the small screen ... in a Travel Channel series about archaeology.
Yes, you read that correctly: The "Transformers" actress, whose last role was filling in for Zooey Deschanel on Fox's sitcom "New Girl," is taking her love of ancient history to "Legends of the Lost," premiering Tuesday (8 EST/PST). In the four-episode docuseries, Fox travels the globe to explore centuries-old mysteries, attempting to learn whether the Trojan War really happened, if Stonehenge has supernatural powers and what role women played in the Vikings' rise to power.
Although she has previously expressed a desire to shift away from acting and pursue her passion for antiquities, many people are still surprised by Fox's involvement in "Legends," to her slight annoyance.
"It's interesting, because I've been talking about it for so long, but none of those things are the things people bother reading or retaining," she says. "It's always whatever salacious, scandalous, negative thing that people are attracted to. But it's not a new thing for me: I've been in love with it for a long time."
Fox, 32, chats with USA TODAY about the show, traveling with her kids and how shooting "Transformers" sparked her interest in archaeology.
Question: How long have you been interested in ancient history?
Megan Fox: My favorite class in school was Greek mythology. That's the only class I had of that nature and the only one I ever did really well in. I came from the South, where I was raised Pentecostal Christian, and we did a lot of revivals and exorcisms in my church. So I was also always really interested in other religions and just ancient people in general. I didn't go to college, so it's not like I specifically studied archaeology, but I was always in love with the idea of getting to actually be Indiana Jones, and travel around and really explore some of these mysteries. Everybody has something that they're passionate about and for me, just being near some of this stuff is really special.
Q: Aside from the discovery that there were many female Viking warriors, what was the most interesting thing you learned shooting the first episode in Norway?
Fox: Learning that women were also merchants was totally new to me, because women haven't been represented that way in our history books. You think of being a merchant as a male vocation but it absolutely was full of females. Also, just the fact that they were burying these enormous long ships underground ... as part of a personal grave, and that was really striking for me.
Q: How did shooting at Stonehenge compare to filming at the Great Pyramids in Giza for the second "Transformers?"
Fox: Well, when I was shooting "Transformers," I was 22 and I wasn't thinking about things the same way as I do now. I didn't have the same ideas and philosophies, and now I would have a totally different appreciation and understanding of it. But shooting (in Egypt), I learned some information that actually sparked a deeper curiosity. There was a seed planted there that (explains) why I pursued this show.
Stonehenge was a totally different thing. We were there at 3:30 in the morning, so it was freezing and misty and spooky and mystical. And I feel like there's even less knowledge surrounding Stonehenge. The Egyptians documented almost everything. They didn't document the building of the pyramids, but we know so much more about them than we know about the builders of Stonehenge.
Q: What's another topic you'd like to explore if there's a second season?
Fox: There's still a lot of stuff going on in Egypt, specifically with the Sphinx. I would love to be able to retest the Shroud of Turin (the alleged burial cloth of Jesus Christ). It was tested in the '80s and I don't think that the testing was handled well, but also the advancements in technology have been so great that there's a lot more we could do if we could get permission from the Vatican to take that. The Nazca Lines (in Peru) have been studied for so long and people are still completely stumped, but I've always wanted to go there and explore that. That's three episodes right there!
Q: Your sons (with husband Brian Austin Green) are still young, but do any of them share your love of traveling or history?
Fox: My oldest one (Noah, 6) is really obsessed with Egyptology and Egyptian magic. He's always begging me to take him to Egypt if I ever go back. But I don't think they really understand what I do. They don't know what it means to work or to make a movie or to do any of this. So they just know that I leave and I supposedly go on adventures and then I come home. They're just too young to really care. (But eventually), I have to take the older one to Egypt. I also want to take them to Thailand and Peru. I want to travel the world with them.