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Hollywood Cranks Up Film, TV Shoots In Chicago

Ed Curran Ed Curran
Ed Curran serves as a meteorologist for CBS 2 Chicago’s Morning News....
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(CBS) –- Hollywood producers and actors are coming back to Chicago in droves, and it means big money for the city.

Among the latest scenes shot here: a daring helicopter stunt shot in Chicago’s downtown.

“The nature of them picking up these people and flying them through the crosshairs of the Loop was exceptionally exciting,” says Rich Moskal, director of the Chicago Film Office.

The scene was shot in the quiet pre-dawn hours because it’s set at dusk, when our streets would be too busy. The aerial stunts were so involved, so cutting edge, the city council had to pass a special ordinance

“It’s currently not on the books as something you can legally do with a helicopter,” Moskal says.

And park, not at an airport, but in an empty lot just south of the loop.

This summer sees the movie “Divergent,” the current “Jupiter Ascending,” which shot helicopter scenes Monday night near Willis Tower, and the latest “Transformers” installment. In addition, six TV shows are being shot here.

Chicago has a great soundstage that’s helping drive business in the Lawndale neighborhood, at 16th and Rockwell.

Cinespace is running at full tilt, with multiple productions coming in and multiple productions wrapping,” Moskal says.

Formerly the Ryerson steel plant, the complex is just two years old and is another huge reason that movies made in Chicago are on the upswing.

Last year, movies brought a record $185 million to Chicago’s economy. This year is expected to do even better than that.

“Transformers” is back in Chicago this Friday.