Sunday, August 7, 2011

Dark Knights and Dog Days

I became a Batman fan by accident.  I don't read comic books.  I've never seen any of the previous Batman movies all the way through - I came close with the one Val Kilmer was in - but in the summer of 2005 Marissa and I would use movies as the port in the storm so I convinced her to go try this new version I'd read good reviews about, Batman Begins.  It took a little coaxing, as I recall, it wasn't our kind of super hero movie, and it starred Katie Holmes.  No offense to the young lady, but we're not fans.  And, if I remember it correctly, the movie came out just days before Tom Cruise proposed to her in what has to be one of the more bizarre Hollywood couplings, and it sort of cast an additional pall over our already lackluster opinion of her as a serious actress.  But, there was so much good buzz about it, and we had seen everything else below an R rating (Marissa had just turned 16), so she gave in.  Probably more to get a quiet two hours in the dark than to really expect anything decent to watch in the process.  What we saw pleasantly surprised us and reeled me in.  Katie Holmes was not even much of a distraction, which I credited to good directing.  So, when The Dark Knight came out, this time with a lead actress we do both like, I was excited enough to score us tickets to an opening night Imax viewing.  I would end up seeing that movie five more times in the theatre, even closing down my group's office for the afternoon so we could all go see it.  It resides on my computer, my iPod, and I have it on an oft-used Blu Ray.  I was blown away, pardon the pun, by the film.  I could spend paragraphs telling you why, but it works on all levels for me, from the set direction, to the subtle concepts about Big Brother government and good v. evil being espoused throughout the film, to the brilliance of the acting, to the simple fact that lots of stuff blows up.    Film can be art and this is, in this layman's opinion, a masterpiece.

So, one Sunday spring morning I sat in my rocking chair in the sun room of my new home, reading over the paper and what do I see but the announcement that The Dark Knight Rises would be filming in Pittsburgh.  I hyperventilated.  Seriously, I did.  I knew I wanted to be a part of it.  Just to see what a genius looks like when he's working.  Well, thanks to my Lovely Philly Friend tipping me off, Marissa and I were.

Watch closely when the movie comes out, we'll be the two little black and gold dots in with all the other black and gold dots during the football scene.  That's all I can tell you really.  We all signed non-disclosures, and I wouldn't violate it anyway, because I have way too much respect for this film franchise to do that, plus what fun would that be?  And, truth be told, I actually don't know how the scene ends up.  It's a fragmented process, so our part was just a slice of an overall scene that will take days to film.

What I can tell you is that there are approximately 15,000 people, not all of them from here (we spent a large part of a very long day sitting next to a mother and son from Michigan and in front of a group of young men from Ohio), who are today a little worse for wear.  Marissa and I both have horrible sunburns despite taking an umbrella for shade.  The only black coat I had without a Steeler logo, a vintage wool affair that is very heavy, will need the lining repaired because it pulled when it stuck to my sweating skin as I pulled it on and off dozens of times to simulate a winter scene in what was in fact shot during the height of the summer heat.  For my part, I have a dehydration headache (for a while they ran out of water for our section), but that's probably the least of it for some people who were getting sick and requiring medical treatment right there.  We were up at 4:30 yesterday morning and got home about 8:30 that night, so we're tired with a full agenda today.  And it combined some of the worse things about Pittsburgh summers:  downtown traffic gridlock and random rain showers that lead to stifling heat and humidity when the clouds burn off.  By the end of the day, tempers were short and body odor was long.  But, for the rest of our lives, we can say we were a small part of Christopher Nolan's vision.  And that makes it all worthwhile for me.

However, as the day wore down, the company that coordinated our group for the film, was taking names and contact information for opportunities in other films.  Marissa and I declined to submit ours.  I may submit to one long, hot day of being drug around from one place to another carrying ten pounds of winter clothing for the sake of Gotham.  I'm not doing it for The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh II.

1 comment:

  1. When I look back at my days working TV/Film production - that is exactly how I remember it (only I would have been the one running to the store to get your section water). 14 - 16 hour days, getting up at ungodly hours in the morning, all to be a part of the "magic". So when, I see email asking if I want to be an extra in a production, here, there, etc. I click delete. Nope. No thanks. Been there, done that, and no t-shirt. I will be looking for your's though!