Blockbuster Summer Awaits Movie Set Fans

You'll be the envy of everyone on their smoke or lunch break and tourists who don't know what they're taking photos of.

First up is the post-apocalyptic sci-fi film "Divergent," starring Shailene Woodley ("The Descendants"), which began shooting in April and will wrap in mid- to late July. (Maybe you saw the housing project development they built in a field in the South Loop?). The movie based on the young-adult novels by Northwestern University alum Veronica Roth is set in a futuristic Chicago, so much of the filming has taken place on indoor sets at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios on the West Side.

"Chicago doesn't look like it's been fully operational for hundreds of years in the story," said Chicago Film Office director

Rich Moskal. "Filming outdoors would be complicated, but they still managed to do some (filming outside), like on LaSalle and Madison (streets). They removed all kinds of street furniture, like light poles, and dressed it up to make it look decayed."

The Snow White-like "Jupiter Ascending," directed by the Beverly-raised Wachowski siblings ("The Matrix"), is scheduled to film in Chicago July 12 to Aug. 27 and revolves around a janitor (played by Mila Kunis) destined to become the queen of the universe, and the bounty hunter (Tatum) sent to Earth by the current queen to kill her. Most of the filming in Chicago will be exterior scenes, said Moskal, and will include helicopters in some capacity.

(The city gave Warner Bros. permission "to conduct landings and takeoffs of rotary-wing aircraft in … portions of downtown Chicago," according to an ordinance passed earlier this month.)

The most anticipated film to hit Chicago this summer will likely be the sequel to "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," which famously shut down Michigan Avenue during filming in 2010. The franchise is scheduled to return for filming Aug. 11 to Sept. 20 — now with Mark Wahlberg ("The Fighter") as the lead — and is set four years after the destruction in the previous film. How will Chicago's role in the next "Transformers" compare to its role in the last one?

"So much of that was the battle sequence," Moskal said of the Chicago scenes in "Dark of the Moon." "It had to be about 30 minutes (of screen time). … This time, I don't think we'll get quite the same treatment. But they're still developing story ideas."

In addition to the three big movies, the TV series filming here full-time in 2013 will likely help the state top last year's record-breaking year in revenue from the film and TV industries. "Chicago Fire," which begins shooting Season 2 in late July, is the lone full-time series shot in Chicago to return (expect more scenes at Lottie's Pub in Bucktown — or Molly's, as it's known on the show), and will be accompanied by its NBC spinoff, "Chicago PD," which begins filming in early September. NBC's "Crisis," starring Gillian Anderson ("The X-Files"), and ABC's "Mind Games," starring Christian Slater ("True Romance") and Steve Zahn ("Treme"), will start shooting in late August. Also shooting here this summer will be ABC's "Betrayal," featuring James Cromwell ("Babe"). USA Network's "Sirens," produced by Denis Leary ("Rescue Me"), has yet to announce filming dates. And don't forget Showtime's "Shameless," which will shoot exterior scenes for Season 4 in Chicago in the fall.

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