(Photo: You live here, you should know better. Credit: Vince-Vaughn.com.)
Just how far is the City of Chicago willing to sell itself out to movie filming? A closed street here and there to accommodate a movie shoot is one thing. Allowing a studio to close almost every single bridge between the Loop and the Near North Side on a Friday evening is something else entirely.
If you were late to the Symphony, missed your movie, got stuck on a bus, or stood cooling your heels on the wrong side of the Chicago River on this frigid, eight-degree evening, that happened to you because of Fred Claus, a(nother) Vince Vaughn film shooting about town this week.
Apparently, the crew wanted to get some lonely images of empty downtown Chicago bridges, and didn’t feel like waiting until the bridges were actually, er, empty, to film them. Say, perhaps, on a lightly trafficked Sunday evening? Monday evening? No, that would be too logical, too easy. Not much challenge in that.
Instead, the boneheads (I’m a former English teacher, I assure you that’s the correct word) at the mayor’s Chicago Film Office felt it would be more convenient to make the thousands of Chicagoans and Chicago visitors actually trying to get around downtown Chicago at 8:00 p.m. on a Friday night late for their weekend plans in order for Vince Vaughn’s helicopter fleet to repeatedly strafe the river (no to mention the twin, 60-story residential towers here at Marina City) on and off for three hours in order to reap motion-picture profit while the not-so-soon to be late-arriving hardworking Chicago residents stuck in the middle of the whole mess froze their personal assets off.
Chicago loves the movie industry and the industry loves Chicago. But there’s got to be a balance between making adjustments for a film shoot and respecting the time and comfort of the people who live in this city. The decision by the Chicago Film Office to allow the Fred Claus crew to royally screw up an entire Friday evening in downtown Chicago showed no balance this evening.
It did, however, show Chicagoans no respect.
Michael Thaddeus Doyle
I'm a NYC-native, Latino, Jew-by-choice, hardcore WDW fan in Chicago with an Irish last name. I believe in social justice, big cities, and public transit. I do nonprofit development. I've written this blog since 2005. Believe in the world you want to live in.