Photo Credit:

The news regarding Transformers 3 has been few and far between lately, but today we’ve learned director Michael Bay will begin principal photography in Chicago on July 4th.

Bay has already set up base camp for the film a few miles outside the city and has gone through weeks of location scouting to find just the right spots for the Autobots and Decepticons to wreak havoc. The Chicago-based filming will continue for seven weeks before heading off to other locations.

Along with Moscow, Chicago will be the main focus of the film in terms of locations. This is a major boost for the Chicago film industry, which was without a feature film for 22 months until the Michael Bay-produced A Nightmare In Elm Street shot primarily around the city. The last major film shot in the city was Public Enemies in 2008.

But all that is beginning to pick up again, especially as Batman 3 comes together and is expected to use Chicago as its Gotham City backdrop yet again. That is, unless Christopher Nolan gets enough of a  budget to actually create a real metropolis. Also on the docket is a Ron Howard/Vince Vaughn project entitled Cheaters, which should be shooting right now in Chicago.

Reel Chicago has all the information on just what will be going on in downtown Chicago for Transformers 3 and interviewed some of Chicago’s leaders in the local industry, including Rich Moskal, head of the Chicago Film Office:

“[Transformers 3 is] a blockbuster in every sense of the word; in terms of economic impact, stunts and special effects.”

“[Mayor Richard Daley] saw the multiple value in this big movie shooting here.”

If you are familiar with Chicago, you’ll know just how complicated Bay is making it for himself by choosing Michigan Avenue, also known as Magnificent Mile, and the Loop as his main arenas. It would be surprising if they didn’t utilize Lake Michigan, which sits directly against the city and provides a seemingly endless ocean on which to pit a robot battle.

Maybe Bay fell in love with the look of the city on set of A Nightmare on Elm Street, along with many other filmmakers who have explained their passion for the cinematic look of Chicago.

“Good thing we’re filming on Magnificent Mile. Now I can get my shopping done.”

We’ll update you on Transformers 3 as more news of locations and filming dates arise . The film is set to star Shia Labeouf, Megan Fox, John Malkovich, Kevin Dunn, Julie White, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Frances McDormand and Ken Jeong. The addition of Malkovich, McDormand and Jeong piques my interest to a level I wasn’t expecting, giving it an extra boost of legitimacy.

After Transformers 2, I thought the franchise may have been dead – at least  in terms of quality. But if Bay learns anything from the response to the second film, he will hopefully tone it down a bit and return to what made the first film enjoyable. In addition, the only real way to amp it up more would be to destroy the entire city of Chicago, and nobody wants that, Mr. Bay.

Transformers 3 is set to hit theaters July 1st, 2011.

Source: Reel Chicago

Photo Credit: Paul Friemel,