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!

packard5

 

 

 

Yes, the blog has been quiet for a while! Since the Michigan Legislature chose to abandon the Film Credits #1 there have been no movies filming and #2 I’ve been too depressed to write anything! Yes, there are some smaller movies being filmed here and there, but the days of the big budget movie that brings millions of dollars to the State are over. I know that the State of Michigan has a lot of other things to worry about at the moment, but even so, this was a really, really stupid move. Over the last 2 years since Batman v Superman filmed here for almost an entire year, I’ve watched from the sidelines as many many people in the industry have left the state for the still-growing movie industry in Atlanta, or other places that are more incentive-friendly. Whatever. It is what it is. For me, this is a hobby. Life goes on. But for those who had worked hard to establish a thriving creative movie industry here in Michigan, this is depressing.

Opinions aside, we have one more big movie coming to town and this will be our swansong until perhaps a subsequent administration sees sense and again decides to invest in the industry again. For a while, we thought the last movie might be John Green’s long-anticipated “Looking for Alaska,” and scouts were in the area looking for locations. I was pretty excited for that one. It might have been filmed in my own small Metro Detroit town, but it was not to be. Creative differences, problems finding the perfect ‘Alaska’ or something else derailed that one, and we were anxious to know what would come next.

Here it is. Michael Bay loved the ‘D’ and Transformers 5 or Transformers: The Last Knight is now in Michigan and has begun filming after a couple of weeks near Phoenix, Arizona. Other possible locations after Detroit include Chicago and England, but for now let’s try to enjoy the next 10 weeks they’ll be here in Michigan

From the Detroit Free Press:

“Transformers 5” expects to spend $80 million in the state during production. It anticipates hiring 450 Michigan residents as part of an estimated 850 cast and crew hires. There also will be a need for 700 extras. That could represent a major commitment of time and money similar to 2014’s “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” which shot extensively in metro Detroit  in 2013 and turned a chunk of downtown Detroit streets into a replica of Hong Kong. “Transformers 5,” which will return star Mark Wahlberg, is the fifth film directed by Michael Bay to come to Michigan. Previously, he’s worked here on 2005’s “The Island,” the original 2007 “Transformers,” 2011’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” in addition to “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

Where are they filming around town? 

Our good friends at On Location Vacations have listed the following possible locations:

Michigan Motion Picture Studios (old Raleigh Studios)
1999 Centerpoint Parkway
Pontiac, Michigan

Packard Plant
(Transformers 3 shot here, too)
1600 East Grand Blvd.
Detroit, Michigan

Michigan Central Train Station

2405 West Vernor Hwy.
Detroit, Michigan

Cafe D’Mongo’s Speakeasy

1439 Griswold Street
Detroit, Michigan

MGM Grand Casino
1777 3rd Avenue
Detroit, Michigan

 

Who are we expecting to see on set? 

Of course Mark Wahlberg is back reprising his role in the last movie. Joining him are Anthony Hopkins, Isabel Moner and Josh Duhamel.

As of today (June 20) filming  has started in the streets around the Packard Plant (everyone’s favorite Ruin Porn location) and the plant itself is expected to be used in the next few days. Other movie stalkers are already on the job: watch for @D3T0N8R and @TReinman on Twitter for updates as well as my Twitter feed and of course, this blog.

Keep your eyes open around town. If you see anything interesting let me know (@bananadoc) My schedule is tight this Summer, but I’ll be getting out to see the filming as much as I can. The Transformers sets are nowhere near as tied down as Batman V Superman, so only the minimum of stalking is required. Let’s enjoy this!

Some more pictures from the Corktown set here. I felt like hanging up my ‘paparazzi’ hat while filming this set over 2 days because I singularly failed to catch Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne except for the back of his head through smoke once. I did have a fun time hanging with my kids though, so I should just be thankful for that experience, right? In any case I’m not the paparazzi (no sh!t), I’m there to record the movie-making process. If I happen to snag a shot of Mark Wahlberg taking his pants off while I’m there, of COURSE I’m going to try to make a few bucks. Wrong movie, but you know what I mean.

Here we see Ben’s stunt-double and Zack Snyder setting up for the shot where Bruce Wayne runs through the ruins of the Wayne Industries building rescuing children, and in particular one adorable little red-headed girl. Aww. Bad Superman!

Still counting down to the official release of Batman v Superman at the end of the months and I’m looking back at the scenes we saw filmed in Detroit in the Summer and Fall of 2014. One of the most exciting periods was early August when the big set that had been constructed in Corktown finally came into play, followed over the next few days by huge scenes filmed across few streets in downtown. Both scenes seemed to be a flashback to the devastation caused by Superman’s battle with Zod at the end of Man of Steel.  This has pretty much been confirmed by the trailers at this point. (I’ve lost patience with adding a watermark to all my shots at this point, but if you do use one somewhere, please give credit. Thank you.)

These are the Corktown set which is the area around the large Wayne Industries Building. Below you’ll see extras in various states of disarray after the buildings have come down, Ben Afflek’s stand-in/stunt double, Scoot McNairy is in there somewhere (and therefore is perhaps an employee of Wayne Industries), a bunch of schoolchildren that Bruce Wayne rescues, Ben Afflek leaving his trailer, and Zack Snyder scowling at me.

Superman and the School Bus

Posted: February 29, 2016 in Batman V Superman, Uncategorized
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I’m still pretty sure we’ll be seeing some kind of flashback to a young Clark Kent rescuing kids from the school bus. Why? Only because I spied this rusty, vegetation-filled bus on the lot at the Pontiac Studios, along with a pink mini-van that looks circa 1990s?

Clark Kent Investigates

Posted: February 25, 2016 in Batman V Superman, Uncategorized
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So nothing particularly earth-shattering here, but a scene that hasn’t appeared in any trailers yet. Maybe it takes up 30 seconds of the final movie or doesn’t make the cut at all, but here it is. I posted a couple of these shots was back when, but I took literally hundreds over the course of the evening while I was hiding out in my car at the end of the street in one of the not so great neighborhoods in Detroit in which to be hiding out in your car. Whatever, I was in luck as over the course of the evening I saw Henry Cavill as Clark Kent coming in and out of the building carrying his reporter’s bag and a newspaper. Clearly he’s out investigating crime, and the headline on the newspaper could possibly say …”Red Light Massacre…” or something like that. My guess at the time was that he was investigating one of Batman’s bad-guy clean-up efforts on the rough side of town, but that’s purely conjecture.

The only other obvious characters in the scene are a boy (around 10 or 11 and dressed in very Clark-Kent-like plaid) and the older, homeless-looking guy who could be blind, or maybe he just likes wearing cool sunglasses at night. We (thanks Mark Bialek) are pretty sure that the other actor may be local musician/actor Paul Miles, but we probably won’t find out for sure until we see the real cast list.

 

 

Batman v Superman Countdown

Posted: February 21, 2016 in Batman V Superman, Uncategorized
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Way back in June 2014, the release of Batman v Superman in March 2016 seemed a long way off. Since that time we’ve seen many other movies film and come to theaters, and often it seemed the wait was endless, but at long last we are almost there. Over the next few weeks until the release I’ll be sharing some of my favorite photographs of the sets and filming in Michigan. There are some that I haven’t released before, and some from scenes that haven’t appeared yet in any of the trailers.

My very favorite set was of course the Superman statue that’s featured prominently in the trailers. There was speculation when we first saw it, in all its incomplete glory, and the full effect wasn’t visible until we saw the missing pieces added with CGI. The scale of it on set was awesome. Thank you, Wendy’s parking lot for the great views.

luthor

We’ve now seen several scenes in the Batman v Superman trailers that are clearly from the party/event filmed in the Broad Museum at MSU in October 2014. One of my favorites is Lex Luther introducing Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne. It was while watching the set from a window on a stairwell at MSU that we saw the party beginning. Of course as always (for the Michigan shoots at least — in Chicago they filmed everything for all to see), the set was pretty locked down, and most of us were disappointed at what we were able (or not able to see). Whatever, it’s the movie set vibe that really counts. Filming went through the cold, wet, October night, so although there were crowds early on, they had definitely thinned out by the time most of the action was recorded. What we did see were a lot of cars arriving, but no one exciting getting out of them!

Batman-V-Superman-Trailer-Clark-Kent-Red-Carpet

Still at the Broad Museum in East Lansing, the famous and infamous of Metropolis and Gotham arrive at Lex’s mansion for a party. See that board in front of the red carpet? Did you wonder what was on it? I posted this on my Twitter feed way back then, but it never got here to the blog where it belongs. Here are the organizations sponsoring Lex’s lavish party/benefit.

msu1

Dodge supplied almost all the vehicles for the movie, so that’s no big surprise; Under Armor; LexCorp Industries and the Metropolis Public Library Renewal Project.