"Transformers 4" Kicks Off Chicago Filming

Production expected to remain in city through Oct. 2

By Marcus Riley
|  Friday, Aug 23, 2013  |  Updated 7:37 PM CDT
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Film crews will be in several locations throughout Chicago at least through Oct. 2 creating the latest chapter in the Transformers franchise. LeeAnn Trotter reports.

Film crews will be in several locations throughout Chicago at least through Oct. 2 creating the latest chapter in the Transformers franchise. LeeAnn Trotter reports.

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Don't be surprised to see burning buildings and explosions in the downtown area over the next few weeks.

It may all be part of the "Transformers 4" production, which begins filming in Chicago Friday.

The Michael Bay-directed film will begin shooting Friday at McCormick Place, according to movie blog OnLocationVacations.com. Some roads near the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place will be shut down at times to accomodate the filming, which will include "controlled explosions, car flips, eruptions, and other pyrotechnics."

More filming is expected Saturday and Sunday in the Near East Side neighborhood, according to fliers posted to residents and businesses in the area.

The following streets may be closed due to filming:

  • Randolph from Michigan to Field
  • Stetson from Lake to Randolph
  • Columbus Dr from Jackson to Randolph
  • E South Water from Michigan to Stetson
  • Stetson from E South Water to Lake
  • Wacker from 323 E Wacker Dr to end

Aerial shots will be filmed from 7-10 a.m. each day. The flier warns residents to not be alarmed if they see the use of pyrotechnics and live stunts, although Chicago Film Office director Rich Moskal says the first weekend won't be the most visual.

"There's expectations of the Transformers shoots being all pyrotechnic and spectacular, but they'll be easing into things at first. If you're looking to get a glimpse of the big stunts, this weekend may not provide all of that," Moskal said.

As of last week, filmmakers were still accepting applications from those interested in being extras. Anyone in the Chicago area with an interest in being an extra should send an email to  trans4casting@gmail.com with a current photo and the following information: name, cell phone number, height, age range, clothes sizes, and scheduling restrictions.

Shooting for the movie is expected to wrap by Oct. 2, but additional days may be added. Scenes for the movie are also being shot in Detroit, Austin, Texas, and Hong Kong.

The previous Transformers movie was also shot in Chicago.

The "Transformers 4" shoot is the latest in what's turning out to be a boon for TV and film productions.

"It's the busiest I think we've ever been, aside from major films such as Transformers and Jupiter Ascending this year, we've also had six full-time TV shows in production," Moskal says. "We've never had that much television here shooting an entire season of episodes."

Moskal says the productions generated $128 million to the local economy last year, a number that will be eclipsed this year. And he only sees it getting better.

"Our growing success is because Chicago not always looks great on film, it's a city whose identity resonates around the world. It's a place where things happen, and success breeds success," Moskal says.

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