I’m very envious right now of all of the great shots coming in from the UK, specifically Newcastle last week where Transformers: The Last Knight is currently filming. So much of the production in Michigan was in studio and on the back lots of the Michigan Motion Picture Studios in Pontiac, and we really only got one awesome day of action to watch out on the streets of Detroit.

I did get the chance to view some of the sets in Pontiac and they were very cool. We’ve seen videos released by Michael Bay of the huge platform they used to film several scenes (and I have some pictures of that I’ll post later), but a couple of other sets were also interesting.

Like this one. I watched construction but didn’t get to see any actual filming. Looks like some kind of alien vessel with pipes and tubes? I have to say I’m curious how this whole alien/ship/submarine/helicopter theme is gong to fit in with all the castles and King Arthur etc. A year to wait, I guess.

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I was fortunate to see quite a lot of scenes filmed in Michigan this Summer, but still missed some of the action. I watched this set being built over several weeks, but never did get to watch it being used. Clearly it’s an elevator of some sort. I didn’t notice until now that there’s a cut-out figure inside.

I do have a lot of pictures and filming stories to share from the last couple of months of the filming on Transformers: The Last Knight in Michigan. I’ll get to it, I promise.

To start off, here are some photographs of the set in the Farwell Building in Capitol Park, Detroit where the production filmed for a couple of days. This scene filmed here featured Mark Wahlberg, Isabela Moner and Jerrod Carmichael. Capitol Park has been under construction for a while now, so many people probably weren’t even aware that filming was in progress. For an update on the history, architecture, and plans for the park see this great article in Detroit Curbed.

Not much to see here as all the filming was inside the building. Michael Bay did share a fun iPhone video of the three stars running through the building (linked to here on Collider.com). I managed to catch Mark and Isabela briefly on their way to their cars. Yay me.

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(Always proud of the Celebrity-behind-an-object shots.. hey, it was a short opportunity and sometimes I’m not as fast as I would like).

Apologies to Isabela for catching her eating pizza.

Lots more pictures and videos to come. 

1967

Filming is underway for the yet-to-be-titled movie based during the 1967 riots in Detroit, directed by Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow. The movie is based on a script by Mark Boal, who won the Academy Award for original screenplay for “The Hurt Locker.” So far the movie has signed up Star Wars star John Boyega, and other stars such as Hannah Murray (Skins and Game of Thrones), Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker), Kaitlyn Dever (Justified), and others. Obviously the story is set in Detroit and takes place against the backdrop of riots that erupted in the Motor City over five hot days in the summer of 1967.  But filming is ongoing not in Detroit Michigan, but in various towns in Massachusetts, and the town of Brockton, MA has this week been transformed into Detroit circa 1967. So the picture above isn’t of a burned out Detroit neighborhood, but is actually a set in small town, MA.

This is hard for me to type. A movie based around the 1967 Detroit riots is being filmed in Massachusetts. Every now and again someone on Twitter raises the question why, but of course the answer is obvious. Michigan recently terminated its Film Credits, and the production simply can’t turn down the credits offered by other states, such as Massachusetts. Why is this such a Big Deal? Movies are all about make-believe, and how many movies are actually filmed in the city where they are set? After all, Detroit has recently stood in for Paris (The Double), China/Korea (Red Dawn), Gotham and Metropolis (Batman v Superman), London (Transformers:The Last Knight) and many many others. Countless movies set in New York City or Chicago and actually filmed in Vancouver, Toronto, Cleveland or (increasingly) Atlanta. But when they need the Empire State Building, they go to NYC. If they need Navy Pier they go to Chicago. Those cities will always have a relatively thriving movie industry even with minimal financial incentives, because they have landmarks that movie makers need. Now Michigan has a lot to offer the movie industry in terms of its diverse natural beauty, coasts and forest, almost every kind of landscape you can imagine, and of course the more obvious urban settings that have tended to bring film makes here in the past. It’s no coincidence that many of the movies filmed in Michigan have taken advantage of the less developed areas of the city of Detroit, using the devastated urban areas as post-apocalyptic settings, but Michigan has a lot more to offer the movie industry than just Ruin Porn. However there are very few movies that are actually set in Detroit, so the likelihood of a thriving movie industry based around that fact is slim. And now there’s this movie. Set in Detroit. Filmed around Boston. And that sucks.

The ending of the Film Credits was painful. It was a miserable blow to the many people who had decided to make a go of the industry here. The many who had benefited from the rush of productions here since 2008. We know who they are. Catering companies, lumber yards, security firms, taxi companies, drivers, tradespeople who are needed on every production to build sets, hotels, restaurants and all of the local businesses experience a boom when the movies come to town. And people love it. I have been around many movie sets, and I have yet to encounter one single person who wasn’t excited, thrilled, amused, delighted by the movie magic around them.  Most people I’ve spoken to were disappointed to learn that the credits have gone. Transformers: The Last Knight recently filmed between the towns of Webberville and Stockbridge in rural Michigan, and hundreds of local people came out to see the action. Dozens of cars lined the roadsides for a glimpse of Bumblebee or Optimus Prime, or maybe even Mark Wahlberg. Adults, teens, parents with their kids. I’m not saying this is an unbiased cross-section, but it struck me that in the last 6 years I’ve still yet to meet more than a couple of people who really thought the film credits were a bad thing, and yet reading the comment sections of the newspapers, you’d think that the populous despised them.

As we know, and as the detractors of film incentive programs often tell me, the movies go to where the incentives are. Yes, they do, because that’s how this unique industry works. And that’s why a movie set in  Detroit is now being filmed in Brockton, MA, employing hundreds of local people, bringing money into the local economy, creating interest in the movie industry in MA, and generally doing good things for the economy. Could the way the incentives were managed have been improved? Maybe. Could we learn from places where the incentives haven’t been so effective? Sure. Could we learn from Georgia where the movies brought in $6 billion last year. We would be stupid not to. Michigan started its incentives at a time when the auto industry was in crisis and we were foolish to abandon them just because the industry is booming again. Michigan just passed legislation giving literally billions of dollars of tax breaks to Data Centers in West Michigan, but we couldn’t invest $50M a year to continue to develop the fledgling movie industry in our state.

The latest Transformers movie has now moved on to the UK. The Detroit Riots movie does plan to swing through and film a few scenes here, but realistically that could be it for movie production in our state. Meanwhile Pennsylvania just expanded their film credits and Ohio DOUBLED theirs, so our neighboring states are reaping the benefits of the demise of Michigan’s program. I have no skin in the game here really. This is just a hobby for me, but I’ve seen the hundreds of people for whom it was a lot more than that. It sucks.

While Tranformers 5: The Last Knight filmed in Michigan over the last few weeks, much of the action was filmed well out of the public eye on the lots of the Michigan Motion Picture Studios in Pontiac, or in the depths of the abandoned Packard Plant in Detroit, where only the bravest movie stalker would be found. However the production did venture out into downtown Detroit for a couple of days. Filming in Detroit always creates a buzz around town, and the scenes didn’t disappoint. Although you could only see what was going on from the ends of the streets, car chases and explosions were visible, Michael Bay and Mark Wahlberg were on set, and for 48 hours downtown Detroit looked just a little bit like London, England. Oh, and Bumblebee!

I found myself in a handy parking garage which gave the best view of all, and spent a happy day watching the action. Some of my pictures have been shared by other sources already, and some were on Twitter, but here are some others, and more to come in the days ahead.

2016-07-23 036If you’ve been following the filming of Transformers 5: The Last Knight in Michigan over the last couple of months you’ll probably have noticed that they have now left our great state and moved on to film in the UK, notably London (probably) and this week on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. I have great memories of climbing the Old Man of Storr on Skye so I’ll be interested to see that in the movie. I was also surprised to see a real Medieval knight on horseback pictured on set. OK then! Gotta love these movies.

Those of you who follow my tweets and read my blog might have thought that for a movie stalker I haven’t been doing much stalking of this movie. Actually I have, I just haven’t posted what I’ve seen for various reasons. I don’t even want to count how many pictures I’ve taken and how many hours I’ve spent, but it was (mostly) fun, and I’ll be writing up and posting pictures here over the next weeks and months up to the release of the movie. This is a busy time of year with school starting up and so it will be slow(ish), and I’m also being somewhat careful what shots I share because there will be spoilers, and I’m less comfortable about giving a lot of stuff away. I did get to see some great scenes, but now and again my trusty camera wasn’t quite up to capturing the task. I’m remedying the situation by buying a Really Big Lens just as the last movie to be filmed in Michigan has packed up and left.

OK so Transformers 5 won’t be the very last movie to be filmed here. Rumors have it that the movie based on the Detroit Riots (still unnamed) will be coming here to film some scenes after they have finished the bulk of the filming in MA. More on that (and probably some political ranting) in a subsequent post. Watch this space!

via Camaro and Mustang Transformers spied without disguise – Autoblog

via Mark Wahlberg falls out of Chevy Camaro as he shoots Transformers The Last Knight | Daily Mail Online

 

After a few weeks filming way out of the public eye at the Packard Plant and the Michigan Motion Picture Studios, Michael Bay and the rest of the Transformers 5 production team came out on the streets of Detroit yesterday with drones, helicopters and a flying Mark Wahlberg stunt double. I hope this guy earns a lot of money. The small crowd gathered to watch filming outside the Fisher Building last night gasped as the guy was first spun around in the air,  and then flung against the building several times. That had to hurt.

Filming in the area continues today (Friday) and then moves a few miles to Fort Street and Shelby downtown on Saturday. The extent of the road closures over the weekend might suggest some major filming and perhaps Optimus Prime, Hound and the rest of the gang out on the streets with some chases, explosions and general Bayhem! Let’s hope.

Filming of Transformers 5 in Detroit began on Monday in some of the streets near the Packard Plant on the East side of Detroit. One of the things film makers must love about our city is the ability to close down several blocks for several days and have no one care! This is an area of the city that is pretty much blighted, with burned out buildings and a definite post-apocalyptic feel. There are no crowds watching the filming. Roads are blocked for some distance around the set and there’s literally no one there. If they move to shoot scenes in downtown of course that will change, but out there, they can shoot for days without having to shoo away the star-struck public.

These vehicles (or parts of vehicles) are nearby at the side of the road. You could easily drive by and not even notice them because they do seem to blend in with the dereliction of the old industrial facilities around there. Around the corner, hidden in one of the old factories is a set that they must have been working on for some time, again without anyone even noticing. When I heard that Transformers 5 was coming to town I had hoped they would build an elaborate set like the one for Transformers 4, which was right in downtown. Detroiters watched that set under construction for weeks before it was finally blown apart by Michael Bay’s pyrotechnics. Not so this time, and if the bulk of the action is to be filmed at this location, we won’t be able to see much if anything. That’s disappointing. Watching the Hong Kong set come to life from a vacant city lot week by week  was spectacular.

This set looks interesting, but there’s obviously a lot of detail in there that we won’t see until the movie comes out. At first glance it could be just another decaying industrial complex, but when you look closer there are some things that don’t quite belong!

  1. There’s a train in there. A wrecked train and it’s higher up than a train should be. Michael Bay does enjoy wrecking L-trains in his movies.
  2. That old factory building now has some strange Gothic pillars and architectural details on its facade that shouldn’t be there.
  3. Telegraph poles?
  4. An upside down yellow cab.
  5. Oh wait. Is that a space ship? Why, yes it is!

There’s still work to do here, and there’s no word yet on when filming will take place, but it’s possible no one will notice that either!

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