Archive for June, 2016

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!






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!