When I first started working downtown (Chicago), my former employer told me that I’d eventually get sick of going into the city every day. Downtown is completely different than the suburbs. It’s noisy. It’s busy. It’s hectic. It’s amazing! Three years later I’m still not tired of working downtown and here’s why:
My first few months on the job my office building was being used to film The Dark Knight. In fact, my building was used for many of the interior and exterior shots! Who knew the Batcave was in our basement? After a few days I even got used to seeing the Gothem City Police cars parked out front!
Chicago is quickly becoming the “it” destination for filming big budget pictures for several reasons. The main reason Chicago is so popular, however, is its unique architecture. Chicago has some of the most diverse architecture in the country. In recent months there have been quite a few films shot in the city but the biggest since The Dark Knight is Transformers 3!
How big is Transformers 3? Well, production is shutting down some of the busiest streets in the city including Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue for multiple days to film what is clearly a battle sequence.
In fact, when I look out my office window right now I can see them filming down on Wacker Drive! How cool is that? I have to tell you it scared the dren out of me the first time they filmed a firefight.
Our windows rattled (you don’t want your windows to rattle when you’re on the 34th floor) and the banging from the gunshots and explosions made it impossible to hear the phone ring. Watching it was cool though.
So being the geek I am, I wrangled my friend for lunch and we went down to scope out the set. I was surprised by how close they were letting people get. The street was positively destroyed! There was a CTA bus that was burned to a crisp and turned over on its roof, taxi cabs were burned out and flipped over; cars were on fire…it was a disaster!
Right in the middle of all of the destruction was the Corner Bakery…and it was still open for lunch! Guess where we ate? It was crowded but really not more than usual for a work day. The best part? Right outside the windows was the set!
Extras dressed as the National Guard were resting in the outdoor seating area as we ate. It turns out, those extras we thought were dressed as the National Guard really were the National Guard! They hired real Guardsmen to be extras!
It didn’t take us long to find a table by the window and we even got to watch them film a take of the firefight! There were explosions right in front of us! The National Guard raced in to the rescue, guns were firing everywhere. It was awesome!
Alas there were no big stars on the set that day and that includes the Transformers. Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Ratchet were all seen on Michigan Avenue (in car form) over the weekend. I still have my fingers crossed that I’ll get to catch a glimpse of one of them in person.
Transformers 3 will be filming in Chicago until August and will be filming near my building most of the time. I think my friend and I are going to have to go out to lunch again!
Check out our IMAGE page to see more of my pictures from the set of Transformers 3!
To see the Transformers cars “roll out” down Clark Street POKE HERE.
For more pictures on the filming of Transformers 3 from the Chicago Tribune POKE HERE.
Speaking of Optimus Prime, China built their own! POKE HERE to see pics! I think Chicago needs one now, right by the lake front…