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Simulated Gunfire Planned in Wicker Park Tuesday Night for 'Empire' Filming

By Alisa Hauser | October 6, 2014 8:27am
 The Fox TV series "Empire" will film in Wicker Park Tuesday.
"Empire" Filming in Wicker Park
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WICKER PARK — If you hear gunfire in Wicker Park on Tuesday, do not be alarmed.

It's part of a scene for the new 20th Century Fox Television series, "Empire," about a hip-hop music mogul whose three sons and ex-wife are battling to take over the family business.

"Please be advised that some of our evening work will include simulated gunfire," warned a filming notice and parking advisory issued over the weekend. 

According to the flier, the filming will interrupt parking along a few blocks of Damen Avenue and side streets just south of the Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues intersection.

Alisa Hauser says don't get too excited: The show is set in New York:

Some of the filming could take place inside the Double Door, an iconic music club at 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave.

A pilot episode filmed in Chicago last spring resulted in "Empire" being picked up for a full season.

Scheduled to debut on Fox this spring, "Empire" is directed by Lee Daniels and stars Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard as Lucious Lyon, the owner of hip-hop record label Empire Entertainment. He wants to take his company public as he battles amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Fellow Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson, Howard's "Hustle & Flow" castmate, co-stars as Cookie Lyon, Lucious' ex-wife looking for her share of the company after 17 years in prison. 

Gabourey Sidibe, the Academy Award-nominated star of the 2009 film "Precious," which was also directed by Daniels, stars as Lyon's hard-working assistant Becky, according to the series' website.

The "Empire" soundtrack is written and produced by hip-hop artist Timbaland.

But residents shouldn't expect to see very many familiar landmarks in "Empire."

"The show is set in New York, so it’s not as if they’re depicting it as Wicker Park, and [viewers are] not going to be seeing things that are very specific," said Rich Moskal, director of the City of Chicago's Film Office.

Fox, which has filmed "Prison Break" along with the short-lived series "The Chicago Code" in the city, chose Chicago over New York mainly to save some cash, Moskal previously said.

"They like the production value here, they like the affordability here," Moskal said.

"Empire" is co-produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment and written by Danny Strong, who also wrote "Lee Daniels' The Butler."

"Empire" joins another new series, "Sense8" for Netflix that is also being filmed in Chicago this fall, joining returning shows "Chicago Fire," "Chicago PD," "Sirens" and "Shameless," Moskal said.

The year 2013, which included the filming of six TV shows and three blockbuster movies, was "a record-breaking year for Chicago film and TV production," bringing in $358 million in local spending and job creation, Moskal said.
"It’s too soon to know 2014 figures, but it will likely be comparable to 2013," Moskal said, adding that portions of the features “Superman v. Batman” (sequel to Man of Steel) and “Insurgent” (sequel to Divergent) are filming in Chicago this fall too. 

According to the "Empire" flier, the following parking restrictions will be in place from 6 a.m. Tuesday through 2 a.m. Wednesday:

Both sides of Damen Avenue from Milwaukee Avenue to LeMoyne Avenue

South side of Milwaukee Avenue from Damen to 1538 N. Milwaukee Ave.

South side of Wicker Park Avenue, from Damen Avenue to Honore Street

North side of LeMoyne Avenue and Hoyne, west to 2112 W. LeMoyne Avenue

Contributing: Emily Morris

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