Fans packed Heinz Field in Pittsburgh today to particpate as extras in Christopher Nolan’s “Batman: The Dark Knight Rises.” Normally the field is home to the world famous Pittsburgh Steelers, but the technical wizards in Hollywood have transformed the famed football stadium primed for a high school game between the Gotham City Rogues and the Rapid City Monuments.
Ten thousand extras wearing the Rogue’s black and gold colors were asked to bring their winter wear to simulate cold weather conditions, while some also brought homemade signs sporting such slogans as: “Rogue Rage,” “Rogues Gallery,” “Rogue Nation,” “Rogue, Rogue, Rogue Your Boat,” and “You’re in Rogue Country.” The massive turnout at the stadium forced downtown Pittsburgh into a gridlock, but who could blame the city. It’s not everyday a Batman movie films in your town, so people turned out to enjoy themselves.
The fictional game began filming with the kickoff between the Rogues and the Monuments. The Rogues receiver caught the ball and ran it pass the Monument’s kicker. This scenario was repeated for about three hours from many different camera angles, while extras were moved from section to section to simulate a packed stadium.
After midday, extras were treated to seeing different versions of Batman’s tumbler vehicles drive onto the field. Special effects teams rigged the field with explosives and it was now the extras turn to act as a panicked crowd as an attack on the stadium takes place.
Rumor has it, in the script, Bane (played by Tom Hardy) is attacking the Rogues stadium with a series of devastating earth shaking explosions. (The photos do show some damage to the field.) The motive isn’t clear, but it could be a diversion or a wanton terrorist attack. Whatever the case might be, Batman shows up to intercede.
The film’s production could ill afford to put amateurs into football uniforms. So, they recruited members of the Pittsburgh Steelers team. Participating players included quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu, Maurkice Pouncey, Willie Colon, Mike Wallace, Heath Miller, Aaron Smith, Ryan Clark, James Farrior, and Casey Hampton. Pittsburgh’s Mayor Luke Ravenstahl suited up to be the kicker for Rapid City.
Also, a few more details have come out about some of the cast members and the roles they will portray. Marion Cotillard will play Miranda Tate, a Wayne Enterprises board member who may have a secret identity of her own; and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is John Blake, a Gotham City beat cop.
Currently shooting in Pittsburgh, “The Dark Knight Rises” will be released on July 20th, 2012. The film will star Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Juno Temple, Josh Pence, Josh Stewart, Nestor Carbonell, Alon Abutbul, Liam Neeson, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Christopher and Jonathan Nolan wrote the screenplay, from a story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer. Christopher Nolan directs.