BERWYN – The popular Fox television show “Empire” is filming an entire episode in Berwyn’s council chambers beginning this week. The episode is scheduled to air Nov. 8. The council chambers also got a much-needed makeover, courtesy of the production company.
Assistant City Administrator Ruth Volbre said the company spent about $30,000 on the chamber renovations to make it look like a classic courtroom. The company refinished the wood, replaced the carpet, redid the room’s lighting and replaced the wallpaper, she said.
“It looks gorgeous and was done in five days. I was very impressed,” she said. “It was cheaper for them to remodel our room and use that space rather than build a new set.”
Filming begins Sept. 6 and continues through Sept. 7. It will resume for one more day Sept. 18. Volbre said there should be minimal disruption to residents because parking for the crew and staff is not near any residences. The public will not be allowed to watch filming.
There will be no parking 10 p.m. Sept. 5 to 6 a.m. Sept. 8 and 10 p.m. Sept. 17 to 6 a.m. Sept. 19 on the south side of 26th Street between Wesley and East avenues and on the south side of 28th Street between Oak Park and East avenues. There also will be no diagonal parking on Stanley and Windsor avenues between Home and Maple avenues during those times.
Parking will be restricted from 6 a.m. Sept. 5 to 1 p.m. Sept. 8 and from 6 a.m. Sept. 15 to 1 p.m. Sept. 19 on the south side of 26th Street between Euclid and Wesley avenues.
Volbre did not know which specific actors will be in Berwyn, but she said more than 100 people are coming for the shoot. The company that produces “Empire” approached the city in August to enquire about filming in the chambers. Volbre said the company was referred to the city by the producers of the upcoming film “Canal Street,” which was shot in Berwyn earlier this year.
Several other television shows have been filmed in the city recently, including “Chicago P.D.” and “Chicago Fire.”
“The film industry and TV crews know that Berwyn is film friendly. We’ve brought in more production companies this year,” she said. “It’s very beneficial to the city because it helps bring in extra income and can show Berwyn in a positive light. Our staff works well and works quickly with production companies.”
Volbre said city officials are very excited Berwyn was chosen by the production company for “Empire."
“This is one of the biggest shows on TV now, and we’re working with a very professional company and we’re happy to have them here,” she said.