Thursday, August 12, 2010

Requests Denied for Transformers 3 DC Shoot

It seems that the Michael Bay's ambitious plans for filming Transformers 3 in Washington, DC met its match in the form of the National Park Service (NPS). is reporting that the three week shoot has now officially become three days, occurring at some point during the week of September 27th.

It was reported that the original plans for the Capital called for a chase sequence with pyrotechnics at the National Mall. The NPS did not like the idea, with a spokesperson saying, "The National Mall is not an area in which Americans come to see high-tech action movies being shot." Negotiations to determine what would and would not be allowed continued with Bay finally getting approval but specifics on what was not provided. As the reduction to three days indicates, Bay clearly did not get approved for much.

[Kathy Hollinger, the head of D.C.'s film office] calls NPS the "most challenging" federal agency to work with.

"We put a lot of energy into this because we knew it would be this huge positive economic impact for the city," she says. "So it was going to be a few weeks, and now it's dwindled to a few days, and it dwindled to a few days because NPS shot down a few of the locations."

The Washington Monument was among those locations, though she couldn't recall the others. A scene planned for the Lincoln Memorial was approved. Park Services spokesman Bill Line's phone was busy during several attempts this afternoon.

"We worked our butts off more than we ever have before, to go as high as we could at NPS, to say, 'This is crazy,'" she says. "It's so frustrating, because it was an opportunity to really show the industry that this could be done in the District, that residents could be hired at a time when a lot of people are out of work. Business could have been booming in the fall."
On one hand I want to wage against the bureaucracy as Transformers in DC would be fantastic but on the other hand I get why NPS said no. One of the mandates of the agency is to protect our parks and its monuments. If a stunt somehow went wrong and something historically important was damaged, they would have failed at their mandate and the blow back would be huge. People would instantly go from "Why wasn't this approved?" to "Why was this approved?” Considering the National Mall is nothing but historically significant stuff, the concerns are very valid. Still a shame as the odds of that occurring are very small.

I wonder what changes this has led to the production schedule. Does that mean the DC stunts were nixed? Being filmed in a studio and married to the DC footage in the editing room? Re-purposed for another location? Hopefully find out at some point. Thanks to Ann for the link.


  1. I just hope it will not cause as much time constraints as they were apparently experiencing during the production of ROTF. Because that resulted in an end product that seemed extremely hurried and full of obvious shortcuts.

  2. A pity, really. But then MBay does blow stuff up, and nobody (at least, not most people) wants Washington DC blown up.

  3. Both reports below mention the possibility of Unicron in TF3, apparently mentioning evidence. =/

    TF3 in top 10, 2011 anticipated sequels:

    Clips and mention of Unicron:

  4. Indiana will be shooting location once again:

  5. @Scorpio

    I checked out both your links, and without actual evidence of scenes where he possibly could be i think it's still people hyping it up and hoping for him...

  6. @Sideswipe
    I agree until we get concrete evidence its mainly ppl hyping it up...

  7. I agree. Everyone has just been trying to hype one character or another, and at this point 90% of what we know is all speculation.

    On the topic of them filming in the National Mall, I totally see their point in not allowing the filming. Most people don't know but there was actually quite a bit of damage to Chicago buildings when they were filming. Most of the places received compensation to repair any damages, but for compairisons sake, lets just say that what if that damage occured to a significant, historic, national symbol. Would just throwing more money at it make it ok? Absolutely not.

  8. if the washington monument was destroyed and no one was in it, would you forget who george washington was

  9. @Rob
    i thought history was for textbooks lol :-)

  10. I live in DC, and I would go to the national mall to see a movie being made. How many times can I go there and see a movie being made? So yes, this guy would go.

    Whether or not people are hyping Unicron you know damn well it's in all of our hopes he is actually going to show up somewhere and at least make an appearance. Lets just hope he doesnt talk because I can only hear Orson Wells doing that voice.

  11. Since so much of the film is created in post-production already, using CGI extensively throughout, is it really that big a deal to add cars/robots to footage filmed in DC? I think not. Besides, with Bay's style having cameras moving all over the place, you can't see the background or tell where it is anyway. This decision by the NPS is unfortunate but ultimately wise, and hardly worth fretting about... When the film comes out, we won't be able to tell if it was actually shot there or not.


  13. i agree with most of you on unicron
    if he does appear (highly unlikely), i wouldn't want him to talk, so why put him in the movie anyways?
    now with this subject
    i totally agree, although i'm not that much about learning history (though i do like it) i believe that bay shouldn't be allowed near that stuff, everywhere he goes, explosions and destruction follow, but there is a con to this, cause people were rumoring that jolt's appearence would be shot there

  14. Every movie director tries and tries. And somehow out of the blue, something good comes out of all of this.

    Hey, remember when the Egyptian authorities said he couldn't film the pyramids in ROTF? So there you go.

  15. @LionBoogy

    Quite true. At least in this case, they are allowed to shoot in the National Mall even if it's just for a few days. Even if there can't be any explosions, they can use that time to get establishing shots and any scenes that don't require pyrotechnics and they can always composite in the monuments in post like they did with the building Sam ended up in at the end of TF1.

    They can always recreate pieces of the DC area in a back lot and/or sound stage if necessary with bluescreen or what not. Probably all depends on budget and scheduling.

  16. they can probably build a 1 is to 5 model or something like weta did with helms deep in LOTR and use that to get a bunch of angles to mix with real footage and cgi. even with slow sweeping moves, a model of that scale will have enough detail to really look good on screen.

  17. So wait...they ARE or AREN'T going to shoot at the mall in late sept? What about that extra's casting call posted a few days ago?

  18. 3 days is still a lot of time. They can do it. I believe the script will have some changes of course, probably due to less pyrotechnics and more CG or whatever chase scenes will be reduced for the sake of monument safety.

    If anyone can do a big scene in a very small amount of time, it would have to be Michael Bay who is well-known to always have a back-up plan and is really anal about efficiency and timeliness.

  19. I feel like Washington is going to be a KEY part in the movie and the history behind the transformers. And them not being able to film in the national mall might mean a fake one to be built on a set to still get all the shots they wanted for the film. If it is going along with this whole russia vs. america space race and something being on the moon i can see washington having a huge cover up or the monuments were built around some kind of secret

  20. Did Bay really think he'd be able to have stuff exploding in DC? I mean, COME ON!!!!! He'll probably have to do what Roland Emmerich did when he shot ID4: shoot footage of detailed miniatures and mix it with establishing shots of monuments and add some soundstage and green screen stuff.

    To Anonymous at 8/12/10 12:29PM:

    Yes, it IS a big deal to add that stuff, when you factor in the RENDERING TIME it takes to render all the animation and scanning that into the film. I mean, with ROTF, Bay was still doing color-correction and rough edits all the way up to the Tokyo Premiere. . .which is way too damn close to the official release of a movie.

    Regarding Unicron-I say NO. I recall how they did Galactus in the F4 movie and I HATED how he was done. I'm going to wait until I hear OFFICIAL confirmation before I believe Unicron -and as far as voice actors I can think of SEVERAL who'd be worthy of filling Orson Welles' shoes: James Earl Jones, Keith David, Jeff Bridges(if they deepened his voice a little), Avery Brooks (from Star Trek:DS9), Tony Todd(did the Fallen in ROTF), Patrick Stewart (with deepened voice), David Warner, Corey Burton, etc., etc., etc. . . .


  21. that sucks ... car chase in the mall
    blues brothers

  22. Roll Bar might make a Cameo :)

  23. i really wanted to c these guys doin' their thing here in DC WTF!!!!

  24. For more DC transformers shoot details, please visit,


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