Pittsburgh blends seamlessly into ‘Dark Knight Rises’
The eventual DVD release of “The Dark Knight Rises” will be an occasion for countless Western Pennsylvania viewers to hit “pause” on their remotes, as they comb through Christopher Nolan’s third installment in the blockbuster Batman trilogy, looking for Pittsburgh streets and landmarks.
Was that 41st Street in Lawrenceville where Commissioner Jim Gordon, played by Gary Oldman, confronts Matthew Modine, as Deputy Commissioner Foley, at his modest brick rowhouse? And that scene where a Gotham policeman played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt uncovers an explosives lab? It looks suspiciously like the Frank Bryan concrete plant on the South Side.
Look for Big Ben, Hines and Heinz, Trinity Cathedral and the Kaufmann’s clock.
Yet, for all the time spent here filming in Pittsburgh — three and a half weeks in July and August last year — it may seem like there’s not much Pittsburgh in this movie. The filmmakers adroitly blended our city with locales in New York City, London and Los Angeles.
Pittsburgh film office director Dawn Keezer was particularly impressed with how filmmakers melded Oakland with New York City.
“I think Pittsburgh looks incredible,” she says. “Everybody should be really proud.”
A few ‘Burgh moments to look for:
For Pittsburghers, the proudest moment may be a pivotal scene, nearly two hours into the film, that begins with an overhead shot of Heinz Field. A camera pans over the crowd, where you may spot your neighbor or brother-in-law as one of the Gotham Rogues fans. Cut to the players listening to the national anthem. You’ll spot Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward and other Steelers. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl kicks off for the opposing team. Spoiler alert: Ward returns the kickoff for a touchdown for the game’s only score.
The Mellon Institute at Carnegie Mellon University is Blackgate prison, where villain Bane, played by Tom Hardy, launches a class war.
Enjoy an aerial tour of Downtown during the movie’s climactic chase scene, where Batman hurtles his Bat aircraft down Smithfield Street, past Saks Fifth Avenue, Mellon Park and the Omni William Penn. Play “Guess That Street” during scenes where police dash through a maze of alleys and streets. “The Dark Knight Rises” was filmed on Strawberry Way, Seventh Avenue and Exchange Way from 9th to 10th Street.
Product placement? Intentional or not, look for GNC, Jos. A. Bank, Heinz, UPMC, and the red-and-blue diamond symbol of the Pittsburgh Parking authority.
Other Steelers who took part in the shoot at Heinz Field: Aaron Smith, Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu, James Farrior, Maurkice Pouncey, Heath Miller and Brett Keisel. Former coach Bill Cowher and Kevin Colbert, director of football operations, were cast as a coach and assistant coach, respectively.