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article imageInjured extra from the set of 'Transformers' gets $18.5 million

By Tim O'Brien     May 25, 2012 in Entertainment
It is nice to to get that call which says you get a chance to work on a major motion picture. It is also nice to get paid to be an extra when doing so. An added bonus is when it is being filmed in your backyard of Chicago.
So, first the good news.
The movie was the highly-anticipated and welcomed project to Illinois, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon."
That was what happened when Gabriela Cedillo got to call to work on "Transformers: Dark of the Moon." Meanwhile, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" has gone on to become the 21st highest grossing domestic film of all time. This latest "Transformers" has grossed $353.3 million. As for the worldwide take, the number is a staggering $1.1 billion.
And the impact on the city and the state of Illinois was huge. The Illinois Film Office (IFO) generated approximately $24 million in spending in the state and provided 400 jobs during production, in addition to extras that were hired as part of the film.
“The impact of 'Transformers 3' extends far beyond its 30 days of production in Illinois by providing millions of dollars in economic activity in the state, creating additional employment for Illinois crew, and, once-again, putting Illinois on the map,” said Warren Ribley, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), where the state film office is housed. “As we continue our economic recovery, the film industry will continue to be an important part of our efforts to create jobs and spur economic growth.”
Now the bad news.
But, as with many movie productions, it doesn't always go as planned. This particular shoot did not. At the time of the shoot she was 24-years old. The Sun Times reports that she is partially paralyzed and partially blind, requiring 24-hour care that her siblings and parents struggle to provide. At a news conference, her lawyer, Todd Smith, said she lost about a third of the top of her skull, and a large part of the right side of her brain.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Drella Savage Wednesday entered an order approving settlement in a lawsuit filed by Gabriela Cedillo’s family (now 26). Among the studios involved are Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Studios. The settlement amount was $18.5 million.
The Sun Times further reports that Cedillo signed up as an extra. She would be paid minimum wage and $25 a day to drive her own car, a 2006 Toyota. This scene, however was not shot in Chicago. It was filmed in Hammond, Ind.
“Transformers 3 played an important role in 2010 becoming a banner year for the Illinois film industry,” said IFO Deputy Director Betsy Steinberg.
So, now, the suit has been settled but the injuries are still visible and rehabilitation continues - and will.
"Transformers 3" shot for 30 days in Illinois in 2010, including areas of the Financial District, Tribune Tower and parts of Michigan Ave, LaSalle Street and Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago. The film, which was shot mostly in 3-D, was directed by Michael Bay and produced by Paramount Pictures, with Steven Spielberg serving as executive producer. The film stars Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Tyrese Gibson, Patrick Dempsey, John Malkovich, Josh Duhamel, among others.
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