Film Notes: Heinz Field prepares to play 'Knight' game


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Heinz Field will be crawling with fans in black and gold on Saturday, but none will be wearing shirts with a Steelers logo. Or Batman, for that matter.

The field, now undergoing preparations for its big-screen debut in "The Dark Knight Rises," will be the setting for a football game between the Gotham Rogues and Rapid City Monuments. Extras will be permitted to wear the Steelers colors but cannot be clad in anything with the team (or any other) logo due to copyright issues.

Extras, who have been chosen from a website seeking unpaid volunteers, will be eligible to win a number of prizes. The top one will be airfare and tickets to the U.S. premiere of the conclusion of Christopher Nolan's trilogy in July 2012 and an after-party.

The North Shore will be smoking -- perhaps literally if the film requires explosions -- on Saturday.

In addition to the movie shoot, Death Cab for Cutie is booked at Stage AE, and Train will play after the sold-out Pirates game at PNC Park. Movie extras, however, are being instructed to park elsewhere and hop a Bat shuttle to the football stadium.

Shooting on the movie will continue in Oakland today, prompting another day of traffic detours near the Mellon Institute, which is playing Gotham City Hall.

The majority of filming will take place inside, but there will be a few exterior scenes, according to information posted on the Pittsburgh Film Office's website. One will feature pyrotechnic effects within the building, and the scenes may also involve gunfire.

Fifth Avenue will be detoured in the immediate vicinity, with inbound motorists looped around the set onto Craig Street to Forbes and Bellefield and then back to Fifth Avenue. Outbound cars will be directed to take Forbes Avenue to Craig Street or Morewood Avenue.

On Thursday, one of the slower days for onlookers, the tarp was removed from the Batpod (the series signature motorcycle) in apparent preparation for a stunt in which Catwoman drives it out of the building and down the steps. The bike was wheeled up and inside, and someone dressed in white could be seen rolling it down later.

Also spotted: a Lamborghini with a BNKRUPT license plate. It's possible, if not probable, that the plate will be replaced for filming because the movie is set in Gotham City and not Pennsylvania.

The car screeched up to the intersection of Fifth and Bellefield avenues. Christian Bale -- as either Bruce Wayne or Batman -- was not at the wheel, and the driver rounded the corner and went down Fifth Avenue, all heads turning in his direction.

Even if they didn't get to see the Dark Knight, some young fans got fresh material for their "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" essays.

Liz Maidman of Upper St. Clair brought Camilla Ward, 5, and Chip Ward, 9, of Mt. Lebanon, and Jamie Schraven, 7, and Jake Schraven, 5, down to watch.

Jake was hard to miss, thanks to a very nice Batman cape made by an aunt. What the youngsters really wanted to see was someone fall off a building, which got them thinking about how fun that would be if they could do that and land on cushiony mattresses or perhaps packing peanuts.

Now they're thinking like comic book writers or junior moviemakers.

Oscar honors

James Earl Jones and makeup artist Dick Smith will receive Honorary Oscars, and Oprah Winfrey will be given the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award later this year.

The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted on the awards earlier this week. All three honors will be presented at the Academy's third annual Governors Awards dinner on Nov. 12 at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center.

Mr. Jones made his film debut in 1964 in Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb."

In 1970, he earned an Academy Award nomination for his role as boxer Jack Jefferson in "The Great White Hope." He has appeared in 50-plus features and lent his majestic voice to Darth Vader in "Star Wars" and Mustafa in "The Lion King."

Considered the "godfather of makeup," Mr. Smith began his career in 1945 as NBC's first makeup man. He is known for his makeup artistry on such films as "The Godfather," "The Exorcist" and "Taxi Driver."

In 1984 he won an Oscar for his work on "Amadeus," and received a nomination for 1989's "Dad." As an educator, Mr. Smith helped train many of today's Academy Award-winning and nominated makeup artists.

Since receiving her Oscar nomination for her debut film performance in "The Color Purple," Ms. Winfrey has gone on to establish herself as one of the most influential figures in entertainment and philanthropy.

The Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, is given to an individual for "extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy."

The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an Oscar statuette, is given to an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.

In related news, Brett Ratner and Don Mischer will produce the 84th Academy Awards telecast, Academy president Tom Sherak announced Thursday. This will be Mr. Ratner's first involvement with the Oscar show, while Mr. Mischer will for the second year in a row serve as a producer and as telecast director.


Post-Gazette staff writer Joshua Falk contributed to this report. Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: bvancheri@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1632.


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