No Vin Diesel “Transit” to Chicago; his pullout cancels the $30 mm feature due to shoot here

Actor Vin Diesel dealt an unexpected blow to Chicago when he reportedly pulled out as the star of Accent Pictures’ $30 million action-drama “Black Water Transit.” It was due to start shooting here July 31.

Five L.A. staffers had just begun to settle into offices at Chicago Studio City when they were told June 15 the movie was canceled and they returned to L.A.

Accent Pictures told CSC owner John Crededio that they would like to return to Chicago once the starring role was recast.

Kevin Bacon was set to co-star in “Transit,” to be directed by Samuel Bayer, best known for directing music videos.

The story follows the divergent agendas of criminals, cops and lawyers as they collide over a shipment of illegal firearms and a double homicide. Earl Pike, a criminal played by Diesel, tries to get his family’s illegal gun collection to a safe haven.

While many big budget movies are rumored to be interested in filming in Chicago this year, the only project firmly set is Dimension Films’ “Quebec,” scheduled to start July 17.

Chicago’s Steve Jones produces and Steve Conrad (“The Weather Man”) wrote and will direct “Quebec.” Chicago natives John C. Reilly and Lili Taylor have starring roles.

Prior to “Quebec,” Warner Bros.’ $40 million “The Lake House,” with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock was the last major studio feature that filmed in Chicago. It’s now in theatres.

The hope is that talk of filming all or parts of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln Project, an Oprah-produce movie and even another Bruce Willis “Die Hard” will materialize soon to end the dry spell.