Michael Bay’s newest film “Ambulance” follows a bank robbery gone wrong as it turns into an chase through the streets of Downtown Los Angeles. It’s also loaded with references to his past projects, from “Bad Boys” to “The Rock.” Speaking to Variety senior entertainment writer Angelique Jackson, the cast revealed their favorite films by the iconic action director.

For Jake Gyllenhaal, who headlines the movie as career criminal Danny Sharp, it’s all about one of Bay’s most highly-regarded films, 1996’s “The Rock,” starring Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage and Ed Harris. When asked who he would’ve liked to play in the movie, Gyllenhaal pointed to Harris’ Brigadier General Francis.

“For me, it’s always a toss up in every movie if Ed Harris is in it — I kind of always want to be Ed Harris,” Gyllenhaal explained. “It’s really just wanting to be as good of an actor as Ed Harris.”

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who co-stars in the film as Danny’s brother Will, called out Bay’s first movie, 1995’s “Bad Boys,” as his top choice. But he wouldn’t want to replace Will Smith or Martin Lawrence, opting to play a new character in the classic buddy cop film instead.

“I would want to be the third wheel,” Abdul-Mateen said with a laugh. “I would completely mess up the chemistry, because they would be like ‘Who is this dude in the backseat?'”

“Bad Boys” is also at the top of Bay’s personal list, with the director reflecting on the stressful yet rewarding experience making the movie.

“I loved being three punk kids: Me, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in Miami doing a movie the studio didn’t even have faith in,” Bay said. “They were so hard on us. Literally, when Will’s acting, at 12 hours, the lights would shut off in the middle of a take.”

Eiza González’s favorite Bay movie is more recent: “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.” The actor, who plays EMT Cam Thompson, considers the 2016 movie one of Bay’s most creative and well-developed projects due to its relatively small budget compared to his other blockbuster shoots.

“I always say Michael Bay thrives on low budget. That’s the best Michael Bay,” González said. “I just love it because he really needs to rely on the performances and characters, and really building things out of nothing.”

“Ambulance” is another of those lower-budget productions — the movie cost about $40 million, which is low by Bay standards — and it was also a remarkably short shoot, filming in just 38 days amid the pandemic.

“It adds such intense adrenaline,” González added about Bay’s shooting style.

Despite the quick turnaround, all the classic Bay-isms made it into the high-octane production: there are car chases and crashes and major explosions, many spectacularly filmed using a FPV (first person view) drone camera. González relished her low-angle “hero” shot the most, while Gyllenhaal and Abdul-Mateen were most excited about Bay’s trademark slo-mo walk and his orbital tracking shots. But because the shoot was so fast, Abdul-Mateen noted, “We didn’t get to milk it.”

Bay is often behind the camera filming, but Gyllenhaal also found himself unexpectedly behind the lens.

In a recent Esquire interview, Abdul-Mateen revealed that Gyllenhaal showed off his directing promise on the set of “Ambulance,” sharing that “There were times when he would take the camera from Mike. … I had never seen anything like that before.”

When pressed about his skills, Gyllenhaal chalked his contribution up to necessity, explaining that there was simply no one else to hold the camera when shooting in the close confines of the ambulance while speeding down the streets of L.A.

“Michael is trying to shoot a piece of coverage because the light’s perfect; we’re on the right street, with the angle, with the sun — he’s a real big fan of flares in cameras, I don’t know if you ever noticed,” Gyllenhaal joked. “So he passed the camera over to me because I was at the right angle and he wanted it really low. So, I shot Yahya’s coverage at one point.”

But, did he get bitten by the directing bug?

“We’ll see,” Gyllenhaal hedged. “I think you have to have a story you really want to tell, and when the time comes I’ll know.”

“Ambulance” is now playing in theaters.