Lee Daniels to film hip-hop TV pilot Empire on location in Chicago
Filmmaker Lee Daniels, best known for the Oscar-winning Precious and more recently White House drama The Butler, will be filming on location in Chicago for his TV pilot Empire. The drama will be set against the backdrop of a large hip-hop business.
Production will be based at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios and will film for about two weeks in March this year.
“The fact that Lee Daniels chose to come here is proof positive that we’ve established a great environment for filmed entertainment,” said Eric Chauldron, Executive Director of acting union SAG AFTRA, in comments to Reel Chicago: “It’s one more example of Hollywood filming here because of talent, locations and character of the city.”
Empire is just the latest TV pilot to choose Chicago as a filming location. The city had a strong 2013, with a 20% year-on-year filming increase. This was largely down to its popularity for television production and the continuing success of the Dick Wolf shows Chicago Fire and Chicago PD, both of which shoot at Cinespace.
Our film production tax credits, access to world-class infrastructure, and a nationally respected labor pool make Illinois a winning destination for production companies.
Betsy Steinberg, Illinois Film Office
Illinois made nearly USD360 million from direct production spending in 2013, according to figures from the Illinois Film Office. In addition to six different TV productions, Chicago hosted Transformers: Age of Extinction and Divergent, plus around 150 commercials. The state’s national appeal is bolstered by a 30% filming tax credit.
“Our film production tax credits, access to world-class infrastructure, and a nationally respected labor pool make Illinois a winning destination for production companies,” said film office Managing Director Betsy Steinberg.
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