Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon

Generally when a movie comes to Chicago for filming it is kept on the down low. It isn’t unusual for films to shoot under assumed names, hide props from the public and avoid the press. However, when "Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon" came to the Windy City to film in the summer of 2010, it was no secret.

During the hot months of summer, fans posed with the Transformers (that where still in the form of cars and trucks) and laughed when they read signs that said no robots would be on the set. People took photos of pieces of the set, which occupied vacant lots in the Loop and walked by signs warning of scenes being filming with explosives. Anytime there were questions, yellow-shirted Transformers 3 Public Assistance personnel, who were assigned to man barricades, answered the fans.

Though it seemed the the filming of the next big summer block buster was just one big movie-making fan fare, the sets were closed and the stars of the shows were often kept under wraps. Some fans left down town disappointed they didn't catch a glimpse of the big stars. The women and girls missed seeing Shia LaBeouf and Josh Duhamel while the boys and men were dismayed to learn Megan Fox was replaced with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as the new love interest of Sam Witwicky.

After weekends of being surrounded by explosions and feeling hounded by low-flying helicopters, I decided I couldn’t escape the filming and thought I would join in however I could. With my camera in hand one weekend, I shot what the general public wasn’t able to see. On a dark and cloudy Saturday, there was filming of long shots where Transformers would be CGI'ed in later. Another scene included a car wheel ablaze and rolling down LaSalle Street, surrounded by burning vehicles. Security had to chase off one man who crashed the set to take photos by jumping out of an SUV that broke through a police line.

On Sunday, I thought I had had my fill of capturing the filming but ended up heading out again after the action kicked up on Randolph Street, not even half-a-block away from my home. The block had been turned into a set with blown up cars, building parts, and papers flying around. Extras made up to look like wounded victims of an attack stood in a parking lot waiting orders. Cameras on rigs hung over the street and the crew pumped in smoke.

Several run throughs were staged, with cameras setting up the shot. The extras were positioned under and on top of cars and desks and other debris and the scene was filmed. Of course, no robots were on set but you could tell where they were intended to be by watching the camera work. Soon it became clear why the bystanders were kept further from the set than usual that day. The stars of the film were near by.
With fresh smoke billowing over the set and the extras in place, explosive pops went off and the stars ran down the street to take cover. Just where in the movie the scene will be or if it will make the cut is to be determined. But LaBeuf himself is claiming that this is the best Transformers film of them all, so I am sure fans and curious Chicagoans alike will take a break from the heat this summer and take in the film in a nice air conditioned movie theater. See you at the movies :)



Assignment: Take a simple mid-west girl and show her more "Eclectic" side.

Mary Lemanski was born one month premature, weighing only 3 lbs., 11.5 oz., but she has been living large since. At age 11 she made her first TV appearance while competing in a talent show. Today Mary may be best known as a songwriter, but she is also a great performer. In June, 2010, Mary released her first full length CD of her own original work, entitled “Eclectic”. One her songs off of the CD “Man of My Dreams”, which was originally written for Jessica Simpson, has been certified as a Top 40 hit by the International Association of Independent Recording Artists.

Mary and I spent a fall afternoon in Chicago collecting shots for her in CD, "Eclectic". Mary wanted to make sure we took the time to photograph her at the Cloud Gate sculpture (aka the "Bean", by British artist Anish Kapoor) in Millennium Park. Due to crowds and fading light, I knew the classic shot, a person beside the bean with a view of the city reflected, just wasn’t going to work. Despite her disappointment, Mary took my direction and followed me under the sculpture. Thanks to my friend (the SB-900 flash!) and a willing subject, I was able to take some fun and unusual shots underneath the "Bean".

Learn more about Mary and her CD “Eclectic” at www.marylemanski.com