Battle for EMPIRE?

Battle for EMPIRE?

Apparently, there is a bit of a battle brewing for the new series EMPIRE, which has just received a series order from Fox (as announced here at SCREEN, here’s the scoop) and whose pilot was filmed in Chicago. Early reports indicated that the highly anticipated series would film in Chicago, and hopefully that is still the case. There are two minor complicating factors, though: Director Lee Daniels was born and raised in Philadelphia and the series itself is set in New York.

So naturally, these two cities are making some last-ditch efforts to bring the series to their respective cities. Greater Philadelphia Film Office executive director Sharon Pinkenson has made it know she wants to bring this series to town, hosting a rally on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art yesterday afternoon. The rally was held in accordance with Daniels receiving the city’s Arts and Business Council Award for Artistic Excellence. Pinkenson declared before the rally, “Tonight we are asking everyone to meet at the top of the Rocky steps to show our love, and to tell Lee how much we want him to bring EMPIRE to shoot in his hometown.”

Daniels did make an appearance at the rally, and was greeted by a crowd of local actors and crew waving "PHILLY IS YOUR EMPIRE" signs in the air (there's a photo or two from the rally here).

Daniels did film his director debut SHADOWBOXER in Philly as well as the Kevin Bacon drama THE WOODSMAN, which he produced.

I’m also hearing that New York is lobbying to lure EMPIRE their way… You know, this kinda reminds me of when everyone was trying to lure LeBron to town a few years ago. Hopefully, Chicago will win this battle and again, all indications are that the series will indeed film in Chicago.

Nevertheless, we should be receiving final word on EMPIRE in the very near future… as always, I’ll keep you posted!

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