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MKE locations, scenery utilized in well-known films

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The production crew of Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) used the Milwaukee Art Museum's Quadracci Pavilion as the headquarters of the film's billionaire antagonist (Patrick Dempsey).

The production crew of Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) used the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Quadracci Pavilion as the headquarters of the film’s billionaire antagonist (Patrick Dempsey).

Milwaukee may not be considered as prominent a city as New York or Chicago, but the film industry has still taken advantage of the location. From action films to comedies, Milwaukee has made cameos in a wide variety of films. Here are some of the few that have showcased the city’s greatest landmarks.

Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon (2011): During filming of the 2011 blockbuster, the Milwaukee Art Museum transformed into the headquarters of billionaire antagonist Dylan (Patrick Dempsey). The art museum’s Quadracci Pavilion and moveable wing-like brise soleil attracted the film’s production staff.

According to art museum workers present during the shoot, the cast and crew took over the front of the museum while cars drove past the entrance. Filming only took two days since cameras were set up in the museum ahead of time. The lakefront area near the museum had to be clear of all boats during the shoot, and workers had to take alternative entrances into the building in order to accommodate the film’s production staff. Dempsey, Shia LaBeouf and model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Megan Fox’s replacement in the film) were on location for the shoot. The art museum has also hosted “American Idol” auditions, “Shark Tank” tryouts and even a Victoria’s Secret commercial.

Bridesmaids (2011): The production crew of “Bridesmaids” paid a short visit to Milwaukee to shoot exteriors for the movie. The opening credits capture the city’s beauty with shots of the lakefront and popular tourist attractions, helping the film’s Milwaukee-native Annie (Kristin Wiig) defend the city from the prissy Helen (Rose Byrne). The Milwaukee Art Museum makes another cameo in this film, as well as the Harley Davidson Museum and Milwaukee Public Market. Annie’s apartment can also be found on Kinnickinnic Ave. Although most of the story takes place in Chicago and Milwaukee, scenes featuring the cast were only filmed in Los Angeles.

Public Enemies (2009): Since notorious Chicago criminals in the 1920s and ’30s preferred Wisconsin as a getaway location, the “Public Enemies” production team chose Wisconsin for numerous filming spots. From February to June 2008, Universal Pictures took over the Milwaukee County Historical Center on 910 N. Old World 3rd St., which used to be the Second Ward Savings Bank. The film’s crew recreated the bank’s original configuration for a robbery scene starring Johnny Depp as American gangster John Dillinger. The film also generated publicity for the Historical Society, which received an influx of visitors following the shoot.

Mr. 3000 (2004): Bernie Mac starred as Milwaukee Brewers baseball superstar Stan Ross, “Mr. 3000,” who got the nickname after what he believed to be his 3000th hit. After turning the nickname into a marketing tool post-retirement to increase his wealth, he learns that he only achieved 2,997 hits due to a clerical error. He then returns to the game to make a comeback at age 47, which is ancient in the world of baseball.  The film’s crew shot scenes at Miller Park as well as Marquette University High School on 35th St. and Wisconsin Ave. The “Mr. 3000” crew made multiple appearances at Miller Park and shot in between innings of actual Brewers games.

Trouble with the Curve (2012):  “Trouble with the Curve,” another baseball movie, sought out Milwaukee as a filming location. The movie centers around baseball scout Gus (Clint Eastwood) who takes a road trip with his daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) in search of the next big thing. Scenes with baseball commissioner Bud Selig himself were filmed on the galleria level of the US Bank building downtown. The bank served as Selig’s Major League Baseball office.

Blues Brothers (1980): Adding a little blast from the past to the list, portions of this classic movie were also filmed in Milwaukee. During this tale of two brothers, one of the most memorable parts of the film take place during the epic car chases. In the movie’s final chase, the Bluesmobile is on the hunt by Illinois Nazis, causing the 1974 Dodge Monaco to end up in downtown Milwaukee on the then-incomplete I-794. The route was constructed to connect the southern suburbs to the downtown area, but did not reach full completion until 1998, leaving unfinished bridges present during the filming. During the chase, “Joliet” Jake (John Belushi) goes full force to the freeway’s end, stopping at the last possible second to save the car and send it flying backwards. The effort successfully gets rid of the Nazis, and in that moment, downtown Milwaukee’s US Bank building is visible. After the Nazis run their vehicle off the freeway, they are sent flying through the air as the Chicago Skyline abruptly appears. That’s right, the car travels 92 miles in a minute, proving that Hollywood does create its own cinematic magic.

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One Response to “MKE locations, scenery utilized in well-known films”

  1. Dave on December 15th, 2015 12:10 am

    You forgot at least one movie filmed in Milwaukee.

    “Major League.” Milwaukee County Stadium served as the home ballpark for the Cleveland Indians in that movie.

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