PICS and VIDEO – Insider’s Perspective – Get a Closer Look at the Set of The Dark Knight Rises

I was lucky enough to be one of over ten thousand people chosen to be an “unpaid spectator” Saturday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh for the film The Dark Knight Rises. In case you didn’t catch it, there is some serious sarcasm going on here, since there’s no real luck in being one of ten thousand or being picked to sit in a bleacher seat for twelve straight hours. Nevertheless, I had a good time at the filming, and while I don’t think I can divulge too many details for fear of being raped by a team of highly trained legal professionals, here is my account of how the day went!
The day began early, at 7 AM. Instead of having us park at the stadium itself, they made us park at Civic Arena, which is pretty far away for those of you not familiar with the area. They then shuttled us on a bazillion school buses over to the field. A little fun side note – while I was walking from the bus to the entrance of the stadium, I’m pretty sure I walked right past Christopher Nolan. He was wearing a suit and talking to someone very loudly in an obnoxious British voice. I probably should have stopped and asked for his autograph, but it would have been odd if it was just some random dude. Upon entering, we were all told to sit every other row. I assume they filmed it from an angle as to make it appear that every row was full.
There were tons of people there – we filled the entire end zone seating as well as nearly the entire first level on the one side.  I don’t think the section I was sitting in was ever even filmed – in fact, they seemed to ignore my entire half of extras. They really only filmed the people in the end zone and the people all the way on the other end of the field. Sucks to be me.
The actual scene they filmed will probably only be about one minute of the film. It’s pretty obvious that it involves a football game, and I will say that it involves the kickoff of that football game. It’s also pretty obvious that there was an explosion at said game (based on the photos courtesy of WPXI), and that this explosion occurred during the game. It is also common knowledge that certain Steelers players were invited to the filming. These players only stayed for about 15 minutes, just long enough to get their close-up and bail. The only player who stayed behind was Hines Ward, who kind of has a starring role in this scene. They even used his own name and number on the Gotham Rogues jersey, so it seems safe to assume that he will be playing himself. However, he did have a stunt double who took over during the end part of the scene. In addition, Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl was on the field as the kicker for the Rapid City Monuments. All I can say is they are probably glad they aren’t a real team because if he was their real kicker they would lose every game. He also had a stunt double to kick for him after he was done with his close-up.
Basically, what the extras did was sing the national anthem, cheer during the kickoff, and act scared and surprised during the explosion scene. I figure that we won’t make it into the movie much at all – we’ll just be background for the main characters. Although they may digitally impose us to fill the areas of empty bleachers, which may be interesting to see.
Here is what the explosives looked like before they exploded
Since it would also be common knowledge to anyone in Pittsburgh that day, I will also talk about the helicopter they used to film scenes. The chopper flew overhead of the stadium for several takes, and clearly they are going to get some sweet aerial views. If you take a look at the photos from WPXI, you can see that they built a platform of grass on top of the real field. The purpose behind this was to create the illusion that the rest of the field has been blown into a crater. It definitely didn’t look real in real life, but I’m sure with some CGI they can make it look fantastic.
And after. Boom.


Eventually Bane made an appearance, and when he did, I couldn’t help but burst out laughing. The man prepping the crowd (I’m sorry, I don’t know who he was) kept telling us that he was a bad, bad man, and that we had to act scared and couldn’t cheer when he came out. All I can say is that I was fine until he started speaking. He sounded like a wheezy, asthmatic old man. Though when I continued to think about it, I realized that (hopefully) they will completely voice over his lines in post production. Since he is wearing that face mask, it wouldn’t be a problem at all. Even his lines were pretty whack, though. No one talks like that, even a villain in a superhero movie. Especially when you are talking to the citizens of Gotham after they are completely scared out of their wits. You probably want to make sense in order to more clearly convey your message, not confuse them even more.

It’s hard to see… but Bane is there on that mound, along with some kind of instrument.


There were a few plots errors I noticed, like how anyone could plant explosives in a football field without getting caught, or even how they could get inside the field without anyone noticing and calling the authorities. But whatever, maybe I’m just drawing too many conclusions or this will be explained in the film. We shall see.
Sadly there were no appearances from Batman or Catwoman. It’s safe to assume they aren’t in this scene, or at least the extras aren’t needed by the time Batman arrives. Although there was a special surprise – three of the Batmobiles made an appearance, and had been painted in camouflage colors. Rumor is that these were stolen by Bane and repainted. Hines Ward, being the attention-lover he is, rode out in one – though this wasn’t part of the filming, just some fun for the fans.

The aforementioned Tumblers. You can see Ward riding the one in the middle.



The day ended with Tom Hardy giving away a car to a lucky fan. Not too bad. Twelve hours of wearing a winter jacket and jeans in the glaring sun, but I think it was justified, at least a little. This will probably be my only glance into the filming of The Dark Knight Rises, but who knows – I may get to see some more if I go creeping around the city!UPDATE: I have since found this video, somehow posted to my YouTube account (even though it isn’t mine. I swear), so I thought I would share it with you! Here is a short clip of the Tumblers in action!


Kristy Snyder

I'm a creative and quirky woman just looking to make her mark on the world. Writer, thinker, crafter, doer. Loves playing ice hockey and curling up with a good book. Traveling is a foremost passion and the road is always calling. Above all, I try to be an enjoyer of life.

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