Downtown Chicago in the ’80s was home to a lot of weird shit -- these days, the area has changed for the better, featuring more cool shit than ever. Lollapalooza will be taking over the gorgeous and expansive Grant Park in early August, and films like Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” have transformed the sleepy Midwest hub into Gotham City.
Chi-City now has another accolade to pride itself on -- the site of one of the most daring and adventurous BASE jumps ever performed. Period.
Soar through a vibrant downtown, dodge skyscrapers and turn the Magnificent Mile into a landing strip is unheard of.
“Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon” will explode into theatres on June 29. Michael Bay, a man not known for his cinematic subtlety, might’ve outdone himself with this one. With rumors swirling that both Bay and lead man Shia LaBeouf are leaving the franchise in the dust, it comes as no surprise that all the stops will be pulled out to finish the trio of films.
New characters will be introduced (including the fan-lauded arrival of Shockwave) and new love interests will be swooned (the breathtaking beauty that is Rosie Huntington-Whiteley).
BASE Jumping Mastery
But in a Hollywood world built around CGI and special effects, Bay wanted to make his biggest mark in “T3” with something real. So real, he assures, that you’ll probably still think it’s fake. To accomplish this, Bay brought in the Red Bull Air Force to BASE jump off the Trump Towers in downtown Chicago. Note to reader: something as synchronized and risky as this has never been done before.
Such a feat is the Holy Grail for precision skydivers and experienced BASE jumpers, but securing the type of permits to soar through a vibrant downtown, dodge skyscrapers and turn the Magnificent Mile into a landing strip is unheard of. With the help of a blockbuster movie like “T3” storming into town, Bay made it happen. So when the opportunity came knocking on the Red Bull Air Force’s door, the team couldn’t resist. Team members Mike Swanson, Andy Farrington and Jon DeVore -- along with Julian Boulle and JT Holmes -- jumped at the chance to be the pilots for such an audacious stunt.
Donning a special jumpsuit known as a “wing suit,” a piece of fabric that essentially transforms a skydiver into a human flying squirrel, the team had to meticulously plot their jump. Instead of only worrying about their landing, the Red Bull Air Force had to map their flight around skyscrapers and other city obstacles. Michigan Avenue was shut down to give the guys a place to land. Downtown Chicago was on hold as history took place.
The experience is something the Red Bull Air Force will be talking about for years to come. The experience seen on film and in 3D is what will have audiences clamoring to the theatre on June 29 for “Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon.”
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