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Autobots! Transform and Roll Camera

'Transformers' sequel, 'Parkland' prep 2013 productions in Austin

By Joe O'Connell, Fri., Dec. 21, 2012

Autobots! Transform and Roll Camera

Expect Michael Bay and Tom Hanks sightings in the new year.

An industry source confirms that a part of director Michael Bay's as-yet untitled fourth Transformers film will lens in Austin in 2013. A recent casting notice picked up by the website Spoiler TV hints at why: "The new female lead that they are looking for is a high school senior and her boyfriend a Texas racing driver." Can you say Formula One? How about Circuit of the Americas? Bay's production company Platinum Dunes has a history of horror remakes in Central Texas, where it shot 2003's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its 2006 sequel, plus 2007's The Hitcher.

Meanwhile, Hanks has already been spotted around town as Parkland gears up for a monthlong shoot early next year. The official film description: "Set amidst the chaos and terror that swept Dallas the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Parkland is the unknown but all-too-true story of ordinary people swept up in the tide of incomprehensible events." Why would a film so tied to Dallas shoot in Austin? Word is it's about the perfect location – in this case a former Austin State Hospital building that has the Sixties Parkland Memorial Hospital look the producers were after. In an earlier, broader incarnation as an HBO miniseries, the project was set to shoot in Big D. But this time, "they said from the outset that they were going to do it in Austin," said Janis Burklund of the Dallas Film Commission. (The Metroplex also lost out on The Dallas Buyers Club, based on the true story of Eighties-era AIDS activists and featuring a shockingly emaciated Austin resident Matthew McConaughey; it's currently shooting in New Orleans.) Principal photography on writer/director Peter Landesman's Parkland begins in mid-January; Hanks is producing, and the cast includes Billy Bob Thornton and Paul Giamatti.

It will be a busy film January with Robert Rodriguez's sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For firing up again after a Christmas hiatus. And if I'm doing my math correctly, 2012 is the twelfth year in Richard Linklater's 12-year project Boyhood, which follows a family and their son through his school years. This all follows a suddenly busy 2012 for film production in the Austin area. New-ish Austin resident David Gordon Green was still filming Joe with Nicolas Cage as of last week, while Terrence Malick's untitled project ended the Austin portion of its shoot and was last heard from in Mexico.

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