UKRAINIAN VILLAGE — Crews set up around The Empty Bottle Wednesday morning for interior filming of director Lee Daniels' "Empire," which is scheduled to shoot for about two weeks in Chicago this month.
Filming started just a few days ago for the 20th Century Fox TV pilot, spokesman Chris Andrews said.
Oscar nominee Terrence Howard stars as the head of a record label in the hip-hop drama, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which also reported the pilot's casting of fellow Oscar nominees Taraji P. Henson and Gabourey Sidibe.
"Empire" is set in New York, but Andrews said if the pilot is picked up for a series it will be back in Chicago to shoot.
Andrews kept mum on what kind of scene was set to take place inside the Ukrainian Village bar and music venue at 1035 N. Western Ave.
A photo posted on the club's Facebook page showed an odd furniture arrangement with the joke, "Friends reunion being filmed today at EB shhh!! #phoebeisthebest #JKitsadifferentshow #TheWonderYears?"
Empty Bottle manager Pete Falknor said the place will be back to normal Wednesday night with Belleisle's Indie Rock Dance Party, which starts at 8:30 p.m.
A notice posted in the 1500 block of North Damen Avenue also let neighbors know that the show's filming would interrupt alley parking behind the Double Door and Lubinski Furniture on Wednesday.
Chicago Film Office Director Rich Moskal said the pilot was expected to be in the Wicker Park area for a one-day shoot.