The Autobots are coming!
"Transformers" director Michael Bay has confirmed Chicago will be a backdrop for "Transformers 3," the latest sequel in his sci-fi film franchise about warring alien robots. Location scouts will descend in April to pin down specific locations.
The monkey wrench: Bay, torn between shooting his zillion-dollar blockbuster in the Windy City, Detroit or Washington D.C., has changed his mind again. Now he's all over the map.
"We are going to shoot in L.A., Chicago, Washington D.C., Florida, Texas, Africa, Moscow, and China," Bay blogged. "On the talent front, we just locked in Frances McDormand and John Malkovich. Both amazing actors I've always wanted to work with. We also just got Ken Jeong, he is the super-funny actor stuck in the trunk from 'Hangover' and the Doctor from 'Knocked Up.'"
So don't get too excited about star-gazing or snagging an extra job just yet. The script remains a work in progress, so it's anyone's guess if and when young stars Shia LeBeouf, Megan Fox and gang hit town. The shoot will be "somewhere between two weeks and two months," Chicago Film Office chief Rich Moskal said. "We're on a long list of cities."
Though Bay dotes on digital effects, Chicago will be happy to accommodate on-site shenanigans. The city obligingly let director Christopher Nolan blow up the old Brach candy factory and cartwheel an 18-wheeler down LaSalle Street for "Dark Knight" (2008). "We're expecting very high-octane stunts and effects," Moskal said.
Maybe the A-listers joining the cast can flex a little clout. After all, Oscar winner McDormand ("Fargo") is a Chicago native while Malkovich ("Burn After Reading") is a member of Steppenwolf Theater Co.
Speaking of Steppenwolfers
Ensemble member Laurie Metcalf ("Roseanne") is on tap for a new Fox sitcom called "Strange Brew." The show, from "Will & Grace" creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, is set in a family-owned brewery. Metcalf , 54, will star as Jane, the newly sober matriarch of the clan. Her character is described as a high-strung 40something who finds that sobriety "with a family of brewery workers is not a happy or easy thing. She's also trying to stop swearing, and it’s a toss up which vice is more difficult to shed."
Olympiad Shani Davis, the first black American to win gold in speedskating, will meet, greet and lunch with fans April 1 at Morton's the Steakhouse at Wacker Place ... Spotted: TV crews taping the pilot of "Matadors" this week at the swanky Chicago University Club, 78 E. Monroe St. , with its view of Millennium Park. The private club is doubling as a courthouse for the ABC legal drama. The cast includes David Strathairn ("Bourne Ultimatum"), who hung out with the crew between takes ... Yes, that was Martha Stewart hosting a private luncheon Monday in Puck's Cafe at the Museum of Contemporary Art ... Observation: Of all the rare propaganda posters last weekend at the International Vintage Poster Fair here, the most inflammatory ones stemmed from the Vietnam era. Examples posted discreetly at knee-level included a poster branding President John F. Kennedy a traitor and another showing an ambushed soldier ... Expect a lot of sight gags in Chicago Shakespeare Theater's upcoming production of "Taming of the Shrew." Rumor has it actor Mike Nussbaum, cast as a lustful geezer, will model a supersized codpiece. The "Men in Black" alum is 86 years old.
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