Dark Knight Returns filming at Heinz Field - pictures galore!
When comic book movies come to theaters, I sometimes write reviews of them. It's at this point that I realize that I'm a sucker just like everyone else - the movie industry produces 100-minute films, more bad than good and often aimed at the lowest common denominator, and proceeds to charge outrageous fees to experience them, banking on the fact that I've been indoctrinated like everyone else into accepting movies as an ingrained part of the American experience or whatever. Big, leather chairs, the center row, a $10 tub of popcorn? It's all part of the "experience", but like someone who has realized that the Matrix is real (there's irony in this statement), I like to think that I'm aware of the grip that the entertainment industry has on us and can thus avoid such terrible movie experiences by just not going to see most of them. But then crapfests like the Green Lantern movie or Amazing Spider-Man comes out and hey! I go and see them because they're both comic book movies. I even watched Bulletproof Monk.
Suffice it to say, I don't feel the need to write a review for the Dark Knight Rises. Because it was AWESOME. Christopher Nolan should write/direct/produce/ingest every single movie from now until forever, because here's the thing separating his movies from most others, and certainly most comic book movies: Nolan's movies are actually good. Dark Knight Rises is no exception. It's fantastic. If you haven't gone to see it, do it and join in with apparently the only thing we here in America can agree on: watching stuff on a screen.
A while ago, I wrote a big ol' post about my experience on the set of the movie, some of which filmed in Pittsburgh. I got called to be an extra in a few different scenes, but for different reasons (mostly because everyone wanted to be in this) I only made it to one day, the huge Heinz Field scene with Hines Ward running away from exploding things. I didn't post pictures of the field (except for the "Batman Parking" sign at the very top, which was hilarious, trust me) at the time because of the potential, ah hem, legal repercussions we were all constantly made aware of. I believe that with the movie out for over a month now, the litigious period has passed, so I wanted to post what pictures taken this day.
Seeing these pictures reminds me of what a crappy phone I used to have and how reliable my Camry was. Both of those have left this world. On to pictures!
Directly above is a blurry image of the bus that shuttled us from the parking lot to Heinz Field, home of the six time Super Bowl champion (this season, we rev up for #7) Pittsburgh Steelers.
Well, suffice it to say that I saw plenty of cameras, logos, Steelers gear and Batman paraphernalia all day. Not much you can do with 14,000 extras on set.
This was my view of the field, otherwise known as "the place that had absolutely no shot of getting on camera. The raised area of the field caused much speculation. The consensus was that the movie would include a "No Man's Land"-style earthquake, which didn't happen, of course. Note the Gotham Rogues logo on the 50 yard line.
Here's a cloudy picture, but for the most day it was sunny and very, very hot. We all had to wear jackets and long pants because this was supposed to take place during the winter. Lots of sweaty people were milling about. You could see the huge UPMC logo on the scoreboard during the movie. I thought they'd maybe change it to UGMC or something, but no big deal.
Most of the Steelers left after the first few shots, but players from both sides hung around all day. Bill Cowher even shouted at the crowd for half an hour or so. Oh, Cowher.
As a treat, the movie Tumblers rolled around the field at one point. It's neat to know that they're functional as far as driving is concerned. They looked really cool.
All of the little hills on the field are the explosives for the upcoming scene.
Hines Ward even got to ride on top of one for a while. Why? Because he's Hines Ward, Super Bowl XL MVP and future Hall of Famer. That's why.
The debris on the field is the remnants of the explosives. All of them went off but one, which caused some consternation with the effects crew. The guy on the right is swinging one of the faux Terrible Towels that were handed out to everyone as he or she entered the stadium.
At the end of the day, one person in the crowd won a car. Tom Hardy, in full Bane costume, called out the number and took a picture with the winner. It was weird.
There was a brief rain shower toward the end of the day. You can see Bane on the Jumbotron, scaring the rain back into the clouds.
At the end of the day, as they were clearing out most of the stadium, I walked over to the end zone, otherwise known as "the section that DID get on camera, and why the heck didn't I just leave my section to come here in the first place because it would be impossible to know who's supposed to be where, and I could have got a Gotham Rogues shirt that haven't been mass produced yet". Maybe it's now known as that.
This was last year, so these pictures brought back a lot of memories of the day. It was fun, but it could have been much better (read this if you want to know more about the actual experience). Even so, I'm glad that I got to play a little part (no, I didn't get on camera except as a microscopic blurry dot) in one of the best comic-based movies I've ever seen.