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Thompson Center on Film: That Was Awesome!

By DNAinfo Staff | October 13, 2015 2:34pm | Updated on October 13, 2015 3:08pm
 Scenes freom Running Scared.
running scared
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LOOP — The James R. Thompson Center has had its critics — Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to sell it, calling it "inefficient." But a number of filmmakers over the years gave it a thumbs up.

The building, originally called the State of Illinois Center,  was included in a handful of films but perhaps none better than 1986's "Running Scared."

As described by Michael Corcoran and Arnie Bernstein in Hollywood on Lake Michigan, "the playhouse quality of [Helmut] Jahn's architecture are pushed to the limits."

The Billy Crystal-Gregory Hines film climaxes with a massing shootout with bad guys and "Hines rappelling from the roof and scads of shattered glass," the authors write.

In his Sun-Times review, Roger Ebert said, "The State of Illinois Center sequence is something else."

"Hines lowers himself on a cable down through the vast rotunda from the ceiling while firing a machinegun, and we reflect that the true test of architecture is its versatility," Ebert wrote.

The other films made there, according to Corcoran and Bernstein, include:

•"Music Box" 1990. The building serves as the setting for the offices of federal prosecutors in the trial of a Nazi war criminal.

• "Miracle on 34th Street" 1994. In the remake, the building is turned into "a Christmas-festooned department store."

• "Switching Channels" 1988. A remake of The Front Page but about broadcast journalism makes "good use of its futuristic ambiance."

Christopher Reeve in an elevator in the Thompson Center from the film "Switching Channels."

• "The Watcher" 2000. Keanu Reeves is a seriel killer who stalks one of his victims into the building, which was turned into a shopping mall.

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