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Mojo

Michigan Central Depot to go Hollywood

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The old train station is going to be used in a Dreamworks movie.

BY MARY OWEN

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

One of Detroit's biggest symbols of urban decay is going Hollywood.

The tall, spooky 91-year-old Michigan Central Depot soon will play a cameo role in a major science fiction film starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson.

Folks from the DreamWorks SKG movie studio were scouting the station and other Detroit locations on Tuesday for a film called "The Island," Alex Worman, the movie's Los Angeles publicist, confirmed Tuesday.

"The Island" will be directed by Michael Bay, who also directed "Pearl Harbor," "Armageddon," "The Rock" and "Bad Boys."

Worman would not say when production for "The Island" would start but said that McGregor and Johansson would be in Detroit for filming. Daily Variety, the Hollywood trade paper, has reported that the movie will start shooting on Oct. 25.

Worman said most of the movie will be shot in southern California but that Detroit beat out several cities for other scenes that are to be filmed.

About a half-dozen people from DreamWorks, which was cofounded by Steven Spielberg, donned hard hats as they navigated the train station. The structure, on Michigan Avenue southwest of Tiger Stadium, has been empty for about 17 years and is a favorite attraction for urban explorers despite the no-trespassing signs and barbed wire.

A representative of Detroit International Bridge Co. -- which owns the depot -- accompanied the crew but declined comment. Company president Dan Stamper did not return phone calls.

According to the Internet Movie Database Web site, the movie is scheduled to open in 2006. The site says the movie is about a man -- played by Ewan McGregor -- who "goes on the run after he discovers that he is actually a 'harvested being' and is being kept along with others in a utopian facility."

It is uncertain whether the depot will be that utopia. Most of the windows of the 18-story building are broken and the structure is surrounded by overgrown weeds. But the building -- with its Greek fa

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They should take what ever money they make from this (probably not the much) and put it toward black town! Just kidding, but I would hope that the movie company would have to do some clean up work on the site that help spur the redevelopment of that magnificant building. I know, wishful thinking.

It's still a shame that the only time they look at making movies in Detroit is for the urban decay....

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Hopefully this movie will spur interest in the station. That might lead to quicker redevelopment, since I really can't see it becoming the new police headquarters anytime soon.

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I honestly don't think the MCS will be shown in a good light. There are way too many other buildings in the world that are already fixed up that could be used. The description of this movie sounds almost like the Matrix. I'm guessing MCS will be a part of what the "real world" looks like.

Hopefully I'm wrong.

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Oh, I know it will be portrayed negatively, but it will give the station a lot of attention that will hopefully spark an interest in the building.

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