‘Bumblebee’ film to transforms Vallejo into movie set

Sets included turning The Hub in downtown Vallejo into Montgomery Ward exterior.(CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS)

Jonathan “JJ” Hook may not have a magnifying glass, but every film he’s worked on — roughly 40 and counting — he joins the director in scrutinizing every scene in every script and concludes to the best of his ability: Where should this be shot?

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For “Bumblebee,” a spin-off of the Michael Bay franchise “Transformer” movies, plenty of it is in Vallejo. This week on Mare Island, count on evenings with helicopters, special effects and pyrotechnics, followed by two days of downtown action.

Sets included turning The Hub in downtown Vallejo into Montgomery Ward exterior.

The supervising location manager and co-producer oversees around 15 people on his team, though he’s handled movies orchestrated as many as 50 others working simultaneously in numerous states and countries.

It’s not a job for the timid, said Hook, a Los Angeles resident and native of England.

“You are dealing with change and pressure,” he said. “But if you’re creative and have a good imagination, you can climb the ranks quickly.”

Hook started as a personal assistant in England doing a period piece that included a shipwreck.

“My job was running out with blankets, tea and coffee,” Hook said.

Obviously, he did it well. Extremely well, by the looks of his resumé that includes “Love Actually, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” “The Sopranos,” “Mission Impossible III,” “Spider-Man 3,” “Hancock,” “Men in Black III,” “Inception,” “Thor,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” and all five “Transformer” films before the spin-off “Bumblebee.” A sixth “Transformer” movie is set for 2019.

As little job security as there can be in the industry, Hook’s apparently nailed down the job on the “Transformer” set.

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“It’s funny. After every single movie, there is a bit of insecurity if the phone hasn’t been ringing,” Hook said. You’re always worried, ‘Will I ever work again?’ Eventually, the phone rings. If people want the security of a 9 to 5, maybe this isn’t quite for them.”

The appeal of location managing for Hook?

“I’ve been doing it so long, I’ve kind of forgot,” he said. “It’s not being in one place for that long. My ‘office’ is always changing. One minute, I’m in a desert. Another minute I’m in Vallejo. Next

Source:: East Bay – Entertainment

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