TRANSFORMERS 4 to Chicago

TRANSFORMERS 4 to Chicago

CHICAGO WILL BE TRANSFORMED: Round four of the TRANSFORMERS franchise will be back in Chicago this summer. The new kid on the block for this one will be Mark Wahlberg, who is set to star and executive produce the blockbuster. In a recent interview, Wahlberg called this role “the most important role of my career.” Keeping in mind that he has worked with David O. Russell, Paul Thomas Anderson and this guy named Martin Scorcese, that’s a pretty significant statement. Shooting ramps up this summer. Be on the lookout for cars that are actually robots.

WHO WILL NOT BE TRANSFORMED: Shia LeBeouf. After starring in the first three TRANSFORMERS movies, Shia is not on the roster for this one. He will be “replaced” by newcomer Jack Reynor (DOLLHOUSE). He’s Irish.

WHO MIGHT BE TRANSFORMED: Josh Duhamel mentioned he might be back as Colonel William Lennox, in a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter. TRANSFORMERS 4 reportedly takes place four years after the end of TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON and will be going with a younger cast of newbies, according to Duhamel.

RELEASE DATE SET FOR PRICE: AT ANY PRICE, which filmed in Illinois and stars Dennis Quaid, Heather Graham and Zac Efron, is set to hit theaters May 3rd. Director Ramin Bahrani (GOODBYE SOLO) also brought some talented Chicago actors into the mix, including my pals Dan Waller, Stephen Louis Grush and Anthony Moseley. Looking forward to seeing this one on the big screen; in the meantime, you can give the trailer a look here: http://www.sonyclassics.com/atanyprice.

DIVERGENT CASTING UPDATE: It’s not Bruce Willis but it’s the next best thing. Jai Courtney, who played Willis’ son in A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD, has joined the cast of DIVERGENT, shooting in Chicago April 9-June 30. Courtney's character is the corrupt leader of the "Dauntless" faction (no idea what that is, I don’t read books very much, let alone young adult sci-fi books, but it sounds important). As we reported here earlier this year, Kate Winslet and Shailene Woodley are also confirmed as cast but the lucky winner of the role of “Four” is still up in the air. Alex Pettyfer (MAGIC MIKE) and Lucas Till (X-MEN: FIRST CLASS) are in the mix, more updates soon…

CHRISTMAS IN MARCH: I always like to see a film shot in Michigan where all of the cast, crew and production team are actually from Michigan. Not that it’s a problem if they’re not, I just like to see the tax incentives benefiting the filmmakers that have paid their dues in the region a bit. Such is the case with SILVER BELLS. Director Harold Cronk leads an all-Michigan team on this holiday indie, shooting this month in Manistee, Grand Rapids and Ludington, then bringing post to 10 West Studios right there in Manistee. For those of you keeping score at home, the Michigan Film Office approved an incentive of $177,655 on the production, which will spend more than $591,000 in the state.

THE DRUNK IS DONE: Filmmakers Paul Fleschner and William Tanoos are putting the final touches on their debut feature THE DRUNK, which filmed in Terre Haute, IN last summer with a Chicago-Indiana cast and crew. Labor Leader Eugene V. Debs was a five time presidential candidate and champion of the working class. His grandson, Joe Debs (played by Tanoos), is a drunk and apathetic curator of the Eugene V. Debs museum in small town Indiana. Until one day Joe gets a wake-up call that stirs his longings for political justice and leads to a run for governor against an old family rival, Bruce Frye (played by Tom Sizemore). You can check out the trailer and support the film at http://www.facebook.com/thedrunkmovie.

Is your film heading into production? Please drop me a note at mac@midwestfilm.com and tell me all about it. I’ll do my best to include it in “The Call Sheet.”

Mike McNamara is the Co-Founder of The Midwest Independent Film Festival, www.midwestfilm.org. Mike pays his rent as an actor in Chicago in theatre, commercials, television and film. More from Mac at www.findmac.com.