Friday, August 12, 2011

Images From Batman's Pittsburgh Sets Give Fans An Early Thrill -- And The Film A Bitter Critic

One somewhat surprising element of Batman's visit to Pittsburgh has been the relatively open set. (It was tempting to write that the set must be open because no imbecile would permit the entirety of downtown Pittsburgh to be turned into a closed set, but then we remembered the identity and judgment of InsolvenCity's current decision-makers . . .)

Anyway, ample accounts of sightings of Tumblrs, Batpods, Batcycles, and Batwings have been circulating among the Intertubes, giving fans an early taste of that which will descend upon theaters next summer.

The amateur videos are often accompanied by panting and squeals of hyperventilating fans. Many websites are drooling over the glimpses of Bane, a camouflaged Tumblr, Selina Kile's riding leathers, and the like.

Not everyone, however, has liked what he has seen.

UPDATE: Welcome, visitors from around the nation and across the globe! There are plenty of excellent BatPhotos available on the Intertubes (all, apparently, taken moments before fake cops in real uniforms could bully amateur photographers), but please be sure to check the video linked at the preceding paragraph. If you like Batman, you need to see that video.

Infytune: Batman Theme, Nelson Riddle
Infytune: Batman Theme, The Who


Anonymous said...


On Friday as I was trying to retrieve my own batmobile from a garage, I had orders barked at me by a civilian affiliated with the film-making crew. The civilian was trying to prevent me from accessing an OPEN street, i.e., there was no filming taking place there nor were there barricades; however, it was perilously close where barricades were located. It was the only way for me to access the garage. The last time I checked, non-police officers have no legal authority to issue orders to citizens who are lawfully on the streets or sidewalks.

I had a similar experience when another movie was filming at a house on Bartlett Street in Squirrel Hill. I needed to access private offices on Bartlett Street. I was forced to park many blocks away on another street and walk to my destination. Private security guards hired by the movie crew tried to stop me from walking on a public sidewalk on Bartlett. Once again, no filming was taking place there and the street was not closed to pedestrian or vehicle traffic.

I really couldn't give an eff about Batman or whatever other movie is filming in the 'Burgh. I am just a citizen who is trying to go about his daily business on the open/public streets and sidewalks of the city.

It is a real piss-off that the police powers of the City of Pittsburgh have apparently been ceded to Hollywood film crews.

Additionally, I had a discussion about the filming here with several ex-pat Burghers, they all concur that the only reason that the filming takes place here is b/c no "Real" city would or could allow itself to be shut-down to become a Hollywood film set.

Infinonymous said...

The police powers of the City of Pittsburgh's Bureau of Police have been delegated to bar owners, sports team tycoons, private clubs, and plenty of others, for years. The officers wear City of Pittsburgh uniforms but take their orders from (and overlook the criminal conduct or civil misconduct of) their private masters, issuing dubious orders to citizens, every day of the year.

At some point, InsolvenCity will get tagged for a huge liability or two, and the system of "detail" work will be revised.

Until then, there is a substantial chance the uniformed officer ordering you to move your car is a rent-a-cop, an intimidatingly uniformed whore violating the law by purporting to possess the authority to deny you the parking space his private master wants.

Vannevar said...

Sunday I had a very similar experience to what Anony@8/13 related. I was on an open sidewalk, people were freely walking back and forth. The block beyond the sidewalk was cordoned off, and movie vehicles were parked on the street.

I stopped to take a photo, took a little too long to fumble with my SmartCamera that's smarter than I am, and a young lady working for the movie company asked me to move to a point on the other side of the street. I declined.

She signalled one of Pittsburgh's Finest, who came over and started off with "you've got five seconds", and it went downhill from there.

I get that Pittsburgh finds it profitable to close streets and accommodate filming.

I get that streets can be closed for special events.

I don't believe that corporate employees have any authority to tell citizens on an open street to move.

I do believe that the Pittsburgh Police and the City have so blurred the distinction between "public police work" and "mercenary services" that the concepts of Service and Civil Rights were forgotten long ago.

Infinonymous said...

It's a small town, Vannevar. With a small-minded police force that prostitutes itself for 30 bucks an hour. And small, small people in civilian command who let them get away with it. You want something more sophisticated, you're in the wrong city.

One of these days, one of these glorified Paul Blarts is going to hurt someone, or mouth off to someone with a lawyer who understands the Constitution, and the city will be lucky to walk away at less than six figures.

Anonymous said...

I'll chime in that I was similarly disrespected by a faux cop at Fifth and Craig while I was taking a picture of the Batman filming.

At Bellefield and Fifth a nice movie production lady explained that I couldn't take pictures at the location I was at because the production company had rented the block from the city and could impose restrictions. I was on the other side--seemed like the public side--of a metal barrier, but I went along with it.

At Fifth and Craig I was standing in the middle of Fifth Ave. in the crosswalk taking a picture. The faux cop rudely told me I couldn't take the picture. I asked him where the rental line was. He didn't know. I told him what the production lady told me. Didn't matter. We eventually determined that I had to be on the other side of an orange traffic cone, about eight inches from where I was standing. Total jerk, and he was serially verbally abusing everyone else who came along too.

New Yorkers have these same problems with film production all the time. I give the Batman folks credit for bending over backwards to compliment the city and thank us for our patience.

Anonymous said...

Seriously. I worked security for "The Dark Knight Rises" and the disruptions downtown were minimal. Yes, there was street closures, but access to any public area was granted upon request and at most with a short delay. When I addressed the pedestrians I would equate it to 2-3 traffic light cycles. Furthermore, "rent-a-cops" as you so elequently phrase it were all breifed (and I know because I was briefed) on "asking for compliance". Were your lives so disrupted that you felt it necessary to come here and spend more time typing you comments than you stood waiting to access the street you desired to walk down? In addition, productions like The Dark Knight Rises bring in a ton of money to the city and if you don't see it, it is because the local government is not investing it wisely. I won't try to explain why you may have been asked to pause at an intersection where filming wasn't actually taking place because as I read through your comments it is apparent to me that you would not understand anyway. Good luck in your future endeavors, you will need it!