Paramount spokeswoman Gabriela Gutentag said with negotiations ongoing, she did not know how many days the company would end up filming in D.C. "We've gone from two weeks to 10 days to three days to seven days; I don't really know," she said.I have no idea what she means by "The robots will be here." The phrasing makes me thing Hollinger thinks real scale models will be at the site. The National Mall is the core area of Washington, DC that most people think of when they visit the Capital which extends from the Lincoln Memorial to the United States Capitol Building. In between you have the Washington Monument, Reflecting Pool, Vietnam Memorial, multiple Smithsonian Museums and more. Net result is you are talking wall to wall national monuments and historical grounds.
Bill Line, Park Service spokesman, said the producers "have asked to do some things that simply are not done on the National Mall," among them staging a "car race" along the Mall's gravel paths and flooding it with artificial light in order to shoot at night.
"A lot of this could be more appropriately shot in a Hollywood studio," Line said. "The National Mall is not an area in which Americans come to see high-tech action movies being shot."
Kathy Hollinger, director of the D.C. Office of Motion Picture and Television Development, acknowledged that the plans amounted to "a lot more than D.C. has ever been accustomed to in terms of scale and impact," including, for instance, simulated explosions and pyrotechnics at locations along Pennsylvania and Independence avenues.
"The robots will be here," she said. "It's not like they're going to be building and having these little miniature Transformers running around and then make them look real with CGI effects afterward."
As a result, I think the real issue is security as a film production brings with an influx of technical people that will want access to or film very near national monuments with a desire to set off explosives. From a security perspective it’s just a major nightmare to deal with. Just as bad, what if something goes wrong and a historical monument is damaged. While the idea of Transformers trashing Washington, DC would probably be visually exciting, I can see why the National Park Services is reluctant to take the risk. If things go right, pat back all around. If they go wrong, it will be pink slips instead.