29-Jun-10 An ancient struggle between two extraterrestrial clans could be decided along the Chicago River next month. And unlike The Dark Knight, a 2008 movie shot near the river mostly late at night, filming for Michael Bays third and final telling of Transformers will be in broad daylight.
Needless to say, theyve got some pretty ambitious plans throughout the month of July for areas around the Chicago River stretching from Michigan Avenue to as far west as State Street, says Rich Moskal, director of the Chicago Film Office.
Expect to see car crashes and movie pyrotechnics similar to fireworks that on the big screen will look like larger explosions. Cameras will capture the action on the ground as well as from helicopters.
It promises to be one of the bigger films to be shot here, says Moskal. Theres all kinds of stunts and theres all kinds of pyrotechnics, all of which are being done in a manner that is both safe and reasonable but its to look very spectacular.
Starting on July 9, LaSalle Street in the financial district will close for two days and then movie mayhem will move to the Michigan Avenue Bridge. The bridge will close at 8 p.m. on July 16 and re-open at 5 a.m. on July 19. That weekend, crews will film everything but Transformers large robots that transform into various objects that are computer-generated and added to the film later.
On July 19, the action will shift a little west to the upper level of Wacker Drive, between Michigan Avenue and Wabash Street, and then between Wabash and State Streets on July 24 and the following weekend.
(Above) West to east, Wacker Drive intersects with State Street, Wabash Street, and Michigan Avenue.
Marina City may have some role as cast or crew
According to Moskal, producers of the movie are negotiating with Transwestern, managers of commercial property at Marina City, for at least a camera position to film action on the Michigan Avenue Bridge and Wacker Drive. However, Trump International Hotel & Tower might show up in the film and nearby Marina City, as well.
Clearly, there was some initial interest in doing some work with Marina City.
Details, both creative and logistical, are still being worked out and may be more clear when representatives of the film arrive in Chicago next week. Filming started in Los Angeles in May. The release date of the movie is July 1, 2011.
David Clarkson, Marina Citys commercial property manager, declined to comment.
$20 million should smooth out any inconvenience
It is estimated the film company will spend as much as $20 million in Chicago and create 200 jobs.
Its the type of production that has a large footprint in terms of the sprawl of equipment and logistics and street closures and things like that, says Moskal (left), but the producers have been great in terms of working with us.
Moskal says a great deal of energy and effort is going into communicating with the public about various closures, recommended detours, and safe places to watch. He says people associated with the film will be on hand to advise pedestrians.
The film stars Shia LaBeouf, who starred in the other two Transformers films, as well as Tyrese Gibson, Josh Duhamel, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Patrick Dempsey, and Victorias Secret lingerie model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
After Chicago, the film moves to Milwaukee, Detroit, Washington, D.C., and then overseas, but says Moskal, Chicago is probably the biggest chunk of the film.
Updated story: Copter jumps planned for Michigan Avenue Transformers filming