Sci-fi series to be filmed in Gary
By Michael Gonzalez Post-Tribune correspondent July 16, 2014 11:02PM
The main area of worship at City Methodist Church on 6th Avenue and Washington Street in Gary has been unused for years. The structure was built in 1928. | Sun-Times Media, file
Gary as a backdrop
As a location for films, Gary has been attractive for filmmakers for more than 100 years. Here are some of the films that have featured the Steel City:
AN AMERICAN IN THE MAKING (1913)
Cast: Harry Benham, Ethyle Cook, Leland Benham.
Fifteen-minute silent documentary about an immigrant’s introduction to America.
AN AMERICAN ROMANCE (1944)
Cast: Brian Donlevy, Ann Richards. Based on Andrew Carnegie’s life, this film contains historic shots of Great Lakes vessels docking around Hammond and Gary.
APPOINTMENT WITH DANGER (1951)
Cast: Alan Ladd, Jan Sterling, Jack Webb, Harry Morgan. Mystery involving murder and organized crime, mail heists and an intrepid postal inspector (Ladd). Gary is where the action takes place, with a little bit of Chicago thrown in.
BLACKHAWK DOWN (2006)
A documentary filmed in part at Gary’s abandoned and crumbling Union Station. The former glorious hub of rail transportation was used as a backdrop to represent war-ravaged Somalia.
GHOST TOWN: A CITY
A short documentary about Gary as it is today. Directed and written by Monte Patterson, starring Jeff Moore.
Cast: Ramon Navarro, Madge Evans, Una Merkel, Frank Albertson. Navarro plays a young Italian immigrant working at Gary’s steel mill who wins a scholarship to Yale. The title refers to football, an avocation in which our hero excels.
I’M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA (1988)
Cast: Keenen Ivory Wayans, Bernie Casey, Isaac Hayes. Parody of blaxplotation films of the ’70s. Opening scenes include Gary steel mills.
LIFE AFTER PEOPLE (2009)
Multipart documentary revealing how quickly the Earth would return to a wilderness planet without people.
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (2010)
Featured in the remake of this horror flick: the shattered remains of City Methodist Church in Gary. Cast: Jackie Earle Haley, Clancy Brown.
ORIGINAL GANGSTAS (1996)
Cast: Fred Williamson, Jim Brown, Pam Grier, Paul Winfield, Isabel Sanford, Richard Roundtree. A movie that’s as much about Gary, Indiana, as it is about its characters. These are good-guy Steel City natives of the baby-boom age who come together to take on the youthful murderous gang that terrorizes the old neighborhood.
PEARL HARBOR (2001)
Cast: Ben Affleck, Josh Harnett, Cuba Gooding Jr., Alec Baldwin, Tom Sizemore. Pearl Harbor and the war as seen through the eyes of two buddies.
ROAD KILL (2010)
Cast: Tony DeGuide, Rosa Isela Frausto. A Syfy original horror flick about a road trip across Australia that goes horribly wrong.
SOUL SURVIVORS (2001)
Cast: Melissa Sagemiller, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, Eliza Dushku, Luke Wilson. After a car accident, a co-ed begins seeing ghostly visions.
TRANSFORMERS: DARK SIDE
OF THE MOON (2011)
Cast: Shia LeBeouf, Hugo Weaving, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand.
WITH HONORS (1994)
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Joe Pesci, Moira Kelly. A Harvard preppie’s life is complicated by a homeless man.
Source: Gary in Memories,
Updated: July 17, 2014 2:02AM
GARY — The production team responsible for “The Matrix” will shoot a scene for an upcoming Netflix science-fiction series beginning next week in one of the city’s most familiar movie backdrops.
In fact, producers of “Sense8,” coming to Netflix in summer 2015, were so impressed with City Methodist Church, they changed the name of one of the sites in the show’s script, according to the location manager for the shoot.
“We were looking for a big, open beautiful space, and it turns out it became a church,” said Monoleto Wilborn, of Unpronounceable Productions LLC of Chicago. “The site had to look really awesome and cool, so we had to go above and beyond and give (producers) suggestions. Once they saw the church they changed the name to ‘interior church, burned out’ in the story.”
The Board of Public Works and Safety approved filming for several scenes for the upcoming “Sense8,” a sci-fi series that connects eight people from around the world who share a common, violent vision through their five senses.
The group tries to survive while being hunted by others who see them as a threat to the world’s security, according to a movie industry website. They will be brought together by a mysterious character, while another character tries to assassinate them.
Unpronounceable Productions worked with Ben Clement, head of Gary’s Office of Film and Television, to scout sites throughout Gary, jumping on the dilapidated City Methodist Church and the intersection of 6th Avenue and Broadway. The sites will make appearances alongside scenes from Mexico, India, Korea, Iceland and Africa in the series.
The church and other abandoned sites throughout the city have become popular scenes for films and videos in Gary. Over the years, Gary has lured moviemakers behind the “Transformers” series, Freddy Kruger and the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise and countless other independent and smaller projects.
According to the City Methodist website, 24 movies were shot in Gary in 2010, many shooting scenes at the church. More than 50 productions used the city as a backdrop in 2011, the website says.
The directors behind “Sense8” siblings Andrew Paul Wachowski and Lana Wachowski have some movie-making legs beneath them. The pair are behind the hugely popular “Matrix” movie trilogy, 2008’s “Speed Racer” and “Cloud Atlas,” released in 2012.
Unpronounceable Productions will prepare for the scenes July 24, shoot them July 25 and wrap up taping July 28, Wilborn said. The firm will hire Gary Police Department officers, in squad cars and off-duty, for security.
The firm also will bring a 120-person crew, including actors and the Wachowskis, to the scenes and have already paid the city $1,500 for the rights to film the scenes, according to a contract with the city.
Not everyone was fond of the movie shoot.
“I guess we’re going to go international with demons,” longtime resident Bill Kosarch said. “I assume we’re going to export this stuff internationally.”