There were about 15 teenagers on what looked like a field trip earlier this month at the John Hancock Center, and not one of them seemed to recognize “Transformers: Age of Extinction” co-stars Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor.
They carried on playing with their phones, unaware that two stars of the biggest movie of the summer had just walked past them. No autograph requests. No picture requests. It didn’t matter that Reynor was wearing a Cubs jersey with his last name on the back, which he received when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch the day before at Wrigley Field.
Reynor, 22, and Peltz, 19, strolled by the students unnoticed to the elevator that would take them up to the 94th floor, now known as 360 Chicago. That’s where you’ll find the newly opened Tilt attraction, which gradually tilts downward to a 30 degree angle to allow guests a unique (and for some, terrifying) view of the city from 1,000 feet above ground.
“Look at this,” Reynor said, laughing, pointing at an image of Tilt by the elevators. “Oh my God, that’s what we’re doing.”
Tilt was still months away from opening when Reynor and Peltz filmed “Transformers” in Chicago last summer. The fourth film in the robots-in-disguise franchise takes place four years after the previous film — 2011’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” which was also partly filmed in the city — and features a Chicago that has finally recovered from Decepticon destruction. “Age of Extinction” revolves around Mark Wahlberg’s mechanic character, who discovers Autobots leader Optimus Prime’s body and revives him. Peltz plays his daughter and Reynor plays her race car driver/love interest.
Reynor and Peltz are still in the early stages of their careers and are relatively unknown in Hollywood. The Colorado-born and Ireland-raised Reynor has appeared mostly in independent Irish films, though he did appear in 2013’s “Delivery Man” with Vince Vaughn. Peltz — daughter of billionaire and former Snapple owner Nelson Peltz — is known best for her role on A&E’s “Bates Motel.” Both said they were rarely, if ever, recognized while filming “Age of Extinction.”
“Just when I was on set,” said Peltz, sitting alongside Reynor at a table on the 94th floor, surrounded by post card-worthy views of the city. “Maybe after this, I’ll begin to experience things like that,” Reynor added.
Wahlberg, obviously, is a different story. There’s a reason his trailer had a minigym and two bedrooms and Reynor’s trailer had a chair and a broken TV, according to Reynor.
“We were in Detroit (filming) and went out to a bar and had a bite to eat,” Reynor said. “It was incredible how many people just rose out of their seats and began to crowd Mark and stand around him to try to talk to him.”
Reynor had his own celebrity sighting in Chicago the night before his John Hancock Center visit. He spotted Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin — who are currently starring in Steppenwolf’s “This Is Our Youth” — at one of his favorite Chicago hangouts, Fado Irish Pub. Reynor said he is a fan of Cera’s. But unlike the gawkers at the Detroit bar, he didn’t have it in him to approach the “Superbad” star.
“I think he’s great,” said Reynor, fidgeting with the baseball used during his first pitch at Wrigley Field, “but I didn’t go over to him. I left him to his drink.”
Maybe Reynor will feel more comfortable approaching other celebrities once “Transformers” hits theaters Friday. The previous films each made more than $700 million at the worldwide box office and helped make stars out of some (Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox), but not all (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) of its lead actors. The impact the Michael Bay-directed franchise can have on an acting career isn’t lost on the co-stars.
Reynor said his mom screamed for what felt like five minutes when he told her he got the part: “It was a lovely thing. It was the culmination of a lifetime of wanting to achieve something like this and I had finally got it and my mother was incredibly proud of me.”
Peltz said she was the one screaming when she told her dad the news: “I wanted the role so bad. You hear, ‘You’re going to get it’ — all these different things. But I don’t like to believe things until they actually happen. ... Jack found out way before I did. I was tortured a little bit longer than he was.”
The time came for the two actors to take their position on the Tilt attraction they had come to see. Both were excited, but they had different ways of showing it.
Reynor braced himself for what was about to transpire. Peltz? She was perky in her heels and black dress, announcing to everyone in the room “I’m ready.” Once the tilting began, Peltz was like a child asking her dad to push her higher on the swing set. “I love it,” she said. “Can we go more?” The operator obliged, but the requests kept coming. “A little more,” Peltz said.
Reynor laughed nervously with each gradual tilt. “Oh my God,” he said over and over, breathing a sigh of relief once they were finally back in an upright position.
The co-stars made their way toward the elevators — where the students were now standing. Had Wahlberg joined his co-stars on this morning, this scene would have looked much different. The students likely would have swarmed the Oscar-nominated actor and put two and two together. But it’s unlikely you will ever find Wahlberg anywhere near Tilt. “I know a cast member of mine who would not have done that at all: Mark,” Treynor said while waiting for the elevator. “He’s afraid of heights.”
“Yeah, right,” Peltz responded. “Mark would not have done that.”
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