TF3: Filming in Gary; Permission Denied in DC; & Photos/Videos in Chicago

{mosimage}Catching up on some Transformers 3 news!

First is filming in Gary, Indiana, which isn't the first time since the film cast and crew were there on filming for 2007's Transformers. One of the locales mentioned was the former Lehigh cement plant, and the possibility of City Methodist Church.

Second is that once again, the National Park Service has denied director Michael Bay permission to film at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., not to mention the Washington Monument, one of the locations that were shot down. Instead of a planned three weeks, filming will be three days during the week of September 27 later this year. The Lincoln Memorial, however, was approved for filming.

And lastly, a variety of photos has popped up during the Chicago filming, including several that shows a rather rusted fuel truck with dangerous-looking accessories, although a faction symbol hasn't been yet. Videos include the NASCAR Wreckers trio driving through a shoot-out, and Bumblebee going through a practice run down a street before following with the real run and pyrotechnics.

Head to here to read the article on Gary from the Post Tribune, here for the article on the NPS cutting short filming in DC via TBD, the TF LAM blog entry and TFW for the compilation photos and videos from various sources, and our movie forum to this everything!

The Post Tribune

'Transformers 3' films on streets of Gary

August 12, 2010

GARY — The soldier knelt in the dirt beside a rusted-out industrial factory ringed by a dusting of Russian snow. He examined an item on the ground, then looked to the sky to demand answers.

Looking down on him was the face of Optimus Prime, an alien robot. But it was only Prime's two-dimensional face, attached to a tall pole held steady by a member of a movie crew.

The soldier was really an actor, Josh Duhamel. Even though "snow" was on the ground, a brutal sun ran the thermometer up beyond 90 degrees. And Majestic Star Casino stood just over the horizon.

A "Transformers 3" film crew spent hours Wednesday in Gary making their next blockbuster movie outside the former Lehigh cement plant on Majestic Star's property. Director Michael Bay could be seen there, leading actors like Duhamel through a scene they filmed again and again.

It's the second time members of the "Transformers" crew visited Gary this year, and it's the second year in a row a big-budget movie came to Northwest Indiana's largest city to film. The crews are lured partially by a resource unlikely to make Gary residents swell with pride.

"We were looking for a place to emulate a foreign country with a series of abandoned buildings," Producer Ian Bryce said.

Nevertheless, the film crews these movies bring with them spend money in the community and create a small but welcome revenue stream at City Hall. Ben Clement, who runs Gary's film office as a volunteer, said filming in Gary has picked up significantly in the last four years. He doesn't mind why they're showing up in Gary, he's just glad they're here.

"If you've got lemons, you make lemonade," Clement said. "And if that's the reason they're coming, so be it."

"Transformers" might move their shoot next to City Methodist Church, a crumbling cathedral found at West 6th Avenue and Washington Street. Last year a crew filmed "Nightmare on Elm Street" there.

Today, praise from that movie's assistant location manager, Nicholas "Shady" Jamison, can be found on the website of Film Indiana, a division of the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

"City personnel, police departments, residents and business owners were more than enthusiastic during our film shoot and extremely cooperative throughout the entire process," Jamison wrote.

"Transformers" producer Lorenzo diBonaventura said good word-of-mouth referrals and helpful city officials are the kinds of things Gary needs if it wants to secure more major motion pictures. He said Gary officials have been accommodating and "encouraged us to be here."

"They want to help us make it work," diBonaventura said.

However, if Gary wants to be a serious filming attraction, "Transformers" location manager Ilt Jones said it might ask for help from the state.

Film Indiana says the Hoosier state offers a maximum tax credit of 15 percent for movie makers, but Illinois offers them a credit of up to 30 percent to produce there, according to its film office.

"If Indiana outdoes Illinois," Jones said, "that's when the fun starts."

Clement said Gary is benefitting not because of tax credits but because of its proximity to Chicago. diBonaventura said about 500 people might have been involved in Wednesday's shoot in Gary, and it costs money to move all of them.

"We've begun to get a lot of referrals" Clement said.

A few members of the "Transformers" cast spent a night at Majestic Star's hotel, officials said, but most of them made accommodation in Chicago. Nevertheless, Clement said filmmakers bring money to Gary's economy.

Paramount Pictures and DW Studios Productions will pay for the handful of Gary public safety workers on the set Wednesday. Clement said there are also opportunities for neighbors to earn money when movies come to town. For example, when "Nightmare" filmed on Tyler Street last year, a few nearby residents were paid for the inconvenience.

When documentarian Spike Lee came to Gary last year to make a film about Michael Jackson, Clement said, Lee paid to rent a church where food was set up for his crew.

"There's significant economic impact," Clement said.

Finally, Gary created a set of filming fees last year that moviemakers are required to pay. "Transformers" paid City Hall $1,550 to film here this month. Before Gary created the fees, Clement said not having them gave Gary a competitive advantage. However, he said their creation hasn't been a problem.

"Our little piddly film fees are nothing," Clement said.

Clement points out Gary has more to offer filmmakers than abandoned buildings, including beach locations and an inner-city urban atmosphere. And crew members Wednesday said they don't intend to associate Gary with the empty Lehigh plant.

However, Gary residents might recognize their hometown when "Transformers 3" hits theaters. Producers said they're confident the scene shot Wednesday in Gary will make the final cut.

"A very important piece of information is revealed in this scene," diBonaventura said. "The movie makes no sense without it."

TBD Arts

"Transformers 3" filming dates revealed

August 10, 2010 – 04:12 PM

By Ryan Kearney (Twitter @rkearney

transformers 3
D.C.: This could have been you. (AP photo)

The "3," it turns out, stands for the number of days Michael Bay's third Transformers film will be in town. Shooting is scheduled for the week of Sept. 27, according to Kathy Hollinger, the head of D.C.'s film office. "They're going to be here, but not as long as anticipated," she says.

What she means is, Transformers's producers wanted to shoot here for longer — as many as three weeks — but their requests to shoot around certain National Park Service locations, including the Mall, were met with nearly an equal number of denials. When that story broke in June, she says, "I was trying very hard not to throw NPS under the bus, but we had spent a lot of time meeting with the executives of Transformers when they were coming to town."

And now what does she have to say?

She calls NPS the "most challenging" federal agency to work with.

"We put a lot of energy into this because we knew it would be this huge positive economic impact for the city," she says. "So it was going to be a few weeks, and now it's dwindled to a few days, and it dwindled to a few days because NPS shot down a few of the locations."

The Washington Monument was among those locations, though she couldn't recall the others. A scene planned for the Lincoln Memorial was approved. Park Services spokesman Bill Line's phone was busy during several attempts this afternoon.

"We worked our butts off more than we ever have before, to go as high as we could at NPS, to say, 'This is crazy,'" she says. "It's so frustrating, because it was an opportunity to really show the industry that this could be done in the District, that residents could be hired at a time when a lot of people are out of work. Business could have been booming in the fall."

Like it is, no doubt, in Chicago, where the film began shooting on July 10. Production doesn't wrap there until Aug. 23.

"Three days of Transformers is going to be a lot," says Hollinger. "A few weeks would have been tremendous."

Good luck getting discovered by Michael Bay now.