From the Set: The Crew of The Dark Knight Rises

Warner Bros. Pictures has provided SuperHeroHype with a brand-new image taken on the day of the shoot as Heinz Field literally explodes in the middle of the kick-off play, disrupting the game. In the shot (click here for a bigger version) you can see some of the things we discussed in Part 1,  and you can get an idea of how many extras were actually in the stands. We imagine that when FX coordinator Chris Corbould was done with the shot, the stands in the arena will be completely filled. See if you can spot director Christopher Nolan in the picture and we’ll let you know at the end of this report so you can see if you got it right.


Jordan Goldberg hasn’t been working with Nolan as long as Emma Thomas (who we spoke to in Part 1) but he joined the team with The Prestige as an associate producer and was involved with writing some of the auxiliary material for The Dark Knight and Inception, including “Batman: Gotham Knight” and the Inception motion comics. While on set, we mainly spoke with Goldberg about shooting at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh and the scenes filming that day.

Introducing football to Gotham and getting Heinz Field

“The football game was always in there. Football is very American, very big city kind of thing. If you live in a big city, you definitely have a football team and that settles that in that reality. At one point, we were talking about shooting in different places and Pittsburgh was always a place and this is a huge sports town. They love their sports, so this is rather fortunate that we were able to do this scene here. These people are still out there and they just want to be out there because Hynes Ward is out there, Bill Cowers is out there, raffling prizes off, so it’s a huge deal. We had the fortune that our executive producer, Thomas Tull, is a part owner of the Steelers, so we have a lot of good relations with the organization. When you put on a football thing it’s a big to-do, just because of all the moving parts that are involved with a football game. At that time, we were talking about shooting in Pittsburgh, so it just seemed like the best marriage to bring in the Steelers and luck would have it, a lot of them wanted to be in a movie because they’d never been in a movie before. They were big fans of Tom’s other movies like ‘The Hangover,’ and then the opportunity to be in a Batman movie, they really got involved. They’re in camp, so we only had a chance of getting some of the small crop guys, most of the veterans who were able to talk their coach out of missing a day of camp to shoot with us.”

How Chris Nolan has acclimated to shooting football

“We have a guy down there named Mark Ellis who has worked on a lot of sports film. Most sports films you’ve seen he’s been the coordinator behind them. Mark and I had been talking for a while and Chris had an idea what he wanted in the game and he dialed into the fact that this event should take place at the beginning of the game at a kick-off, because that’s a very iconic part of any football game. With that information, I was able to get it to Mark and we were able to design a very easy play out there to make the thing happen.”

Seeing Batman out in the daytime

“I won’t say much because I don’t want to ruin any of the story things for you guys, but you have to think about it because obviously the guy is built to fight at night, so the question is what is involved with the story that would force him to take the streets during the day? I think that alone should show you when we talk about scope or scale that the stakes have been increased because he’s not at his comfort level in doing his fighting crime bit.”

The decision to follow the Joker with Bane and Catwoman

“I can’t really speak for Chris. All I can say is that it’s a tough act to follow, obviously, because the Joker is an iconic villain. We’re doing some iconic characters from the lore in this film and the villain we found with Bane, this is taking it from an approach of allowing the fact that Bane, because he’s not as well known as the other ones, Chris is able to do stuff with him that’s interesting and enables us to dial into him being different and in his own way. He’s as lethal or more (than the Joker) which you need as we do another movie.”

How the screenplay changes while shooting

“He and Jonah, the writing process if pretty finalized by the time they start rolling cameras. Things change a bit and different ideas come into play but for the most part, it’s pretty locked in. The story is a pretty big detailed blueprint for us to go through. I think it enables us to move very efficiently that way and all the actors are very relaxed in this scenario because they know what they’re doing and nothing really changes so they can lock in on their characters and bring something new to it.”

The scope of the movie compared to the first two

“Every story has to have a great ending and I guess when you talk about the franchise as a trilogy, it keeps getting bigger and bigger, so yeah, you have to ratchet it up. The scope and scale of this movie – I didn’t think you could top the last one, but I think we have. I think something like this helps you do that, because any time there is a football game, there’s a lot of kinetic energy out there and the stunt we’re going to pull off there–you’ll see after lunch–the explosions we’re going to do are pretty big and the stakes are very high. I think when you see the movie, you see the final thing put together, it’s a pretty jaw-dropping spectacle what happens out there.”

The budget of Dark Knight Rises vs. the previous Batman movie

“Honestly, Chris and Emma and the rest of the team just start from a place where they want to make a really good movie and they don’t really think about what the budget was. We’re lucky because when you have a big success it helps. Obviously you go to a town like this and everybody is so enthusiastic to have you around and a lot of that is due to the last movie’s success, but ultimately, the mission is to come into it and make a great film and a good story, great spectacle, and I think that’s the way he approaches it which is why I think people like it.”