Holy smokes! Fireballs, explosions, gunfire, the Chicago sky filled with base jumpers and parachutes. Fear not, citizens of the Windy City, it is only a Hollywood invasion. Director Michael Bay, the cast and crew of his new action-packed film, “Transformers 3,” have been filming in the friendly city since July 10. Video here.
The sci-fi action flick stars Josh Duhamel, (who brought along wife Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas), Shia LeBeouf, Tyrese Gibson, Patrick Dempsey, Frances McDormand, and John Malkovich will be making Chicago “home” for the next few weeks.
Yes, the city has been under siege by “Tinsel Town,” bringing jaw-dropping stunts, crash, fire, and burn scenes right on the busy streets where 2.8 million urbanites reside. This Hollywood spectacle is a huge undertaking for the 45-year-old filmmaker Bay, and Chitown. Mayor Daley called a press conference June 16 to prepare the city. Prepare Chicagoans? What in heaven’s name could this enormous-sized Hollywood production cause? Detours and traffic. We’re talking about closing down the Mag Mile, one of our busiest thoroughfares.
The filming has also drawn nice crowds, some taking the day off to come and witness a CTA bus flipped and overturned, flying debris, plus piles of burning cars in hot, summer temperatures. The “Transformers” crew know how to maneuver around people on the streets in order to get their shots. Many of the scenes take place on Michigan and Wacker, the most requested location by cinematographers, who also love our skyline. See video here.
Another benefit this Hollywood production has been responsible for is an increase in tourism, which brings revenue to local businesses in and around the area. Add to that, 200 jobs that have been created. Bella and Dan Bacino’s Bacino Italian restaurant will be the location of one of the film scenes. A major showdown takes place on their patio and a parking lot close by that started July 18, finishing up on tomorrow, the 21st. Shooting continues at Hotel 71 on July 20 and 21, then on to Trump Tower, (I’ll be there), July 27.
“Transformer” stars have been spotted in town at a few trendy eateries: director Michael Bay at Cuvee, Tyrese Gibson dined at Japonaise, Patrick Dempsey and actress, (Victoria’s Secret model), Rosie Huntington-Whiteley grabbed a bite to eat at Sunda. Fabulous Fergie and hubby Duhamel showed up at Hub 51 on July 13. They haven’t disappointed fans, graciously stopping to sign autographs and allowing some to snap photographs.
Earlier scenes were shot in LA, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Washington, D.C.. As I am writing this, production crews are aboard a helicopter flying over head capturing footage of the lake front. Sunday, July 11, at 7am in the park next door, parachutists glided down to the grassy knoll. I got up early to see Hollywood right in my backyard! In less than an hour they were gone, on to the next downtown location.
Chicago has had other films shot on location here. One of the most popular is the cult classic, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” with Matthew Broderick. Another well-known hit, “The Dark Knight,” one of the Batman series filmed here in 2008, was great for the city. Ron Howard collaborated with Vince Vaughn to film “Cheaters” this past June 1-3.
No spoiler on this plot, so all I can tell you is the story revolves around the “Transformers” role in the space race between the U.S. and Russia. I know, that’s not much. But, they are keeping the story under wraps. This movie will be the last of the trilogy.
Come on down and check out the Hollywood invasion of “Transformers 3” here downtown. Filming continues rain or shine, July 24-27, Aug. 1 at E. Wacker Drive, and July 27 at the newly built Trump Tower, overlooking the Chicago River. Schedule here.
Photogallery of filming in Chicago, here.
For more on director Michael Bay, go here.
“Transformers 3” Trailer is here.