“Transformers 5” aka “E75” to film in London & Detroit

“Transformers'” Optimus Prime

Director Michael Bay’s much-discussed “Transformers 5,” now known by the working title of “E75,” has started preproduction and will begin shooting in London, with additional scenes to be filmed in Detroit, according to new casting call information.

Which leads to conjecture about whether or not some scenes might take in Chicago, where 2014’s “Transformers: Age of Extinction” was shot, specifically, blowing up Michigan Avenue between Ohio Street and the Chicago River.

Given the demise of Michigan’s attractive film incentives that Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan legislature killed in 2015, it was bantered about that Chicago might step up in its place. Although the reality is, Illinois’ tax incentives are in limbo, regardless of the spin Springfield chooses to put on it.

Last week, MFDMO director Jennell Leonard issued a statement stating she’d have “more to share next week” — meaning an official greenlight and production details would be forthcoming. She also said that Paramount has been a good returning customer.” And yes, it has.

Bay has shot portions of four of the previous “Transformers” franchise in and around Detroit.  His biggest project there was 2014’s “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” spending about $65 million in Michigan and receiving some $16 million in incentives.

“E75” will start filming in June and will be the biggest feature to film in Michigan since their incentives went bye-bye last summer.

“Casting directors are now setting up auditions for new lead and supporting roles,” the casting call reads. “Extras, stand-ins and photo doubles will be cast closer to the start of production this summer.”

“E75” will be Bay’s third collaboration with “Transformers” star Mark Wahlberg reprising his role as Cade Yager and Peter Cullen returning as the voice of Optimus Prime. Other leads reportedly confirmed are Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis and many new menacing Autobots known only as the “Mechanoids” will appear. 

Hong Kong is likely to again be part of the upcoming filming.  

Any scenes filming in Chicago would take place in September, same as the last time “Transformers” blew things up here.

“E75’s” release date is set for June, 2017, to be followed by two additional sequels to be released in June of 2018 and 2019. So there’s time and opportunity for Chicago to recapture some of that desirable and profitable “Transformers” production. 

Maybe by then the heroes and Autobots of our own state budget action-drama-horror movie will have been cast, filmed and over with.