Last movie in 'Batman' trilogy to be filmed in Pittsburgh



Sorry, Twihards. Taylor Lautner coming to Pittsburgh was big, but Batman's bigger.

Confirmation Tuesday that "The Dark Knight Rises" will film in Pittsburgh this summer triggered a wave of emails, phone calls, tweets and Facebook posts from people wanting to be extras, work in any capacity (gaffer, grip, go-fer), supply equipment or stand on the sidelines and watch the magic happen.

It's too early for that information, but you can check the Pittsburgh Film Office's website at www.pghfilm.org for details as they become available. You also can sign up for the office's Twitter and Facebook feeds and to receive text message alerts -- text PFO to 94253 to register.

"The Dark Knight Rises" is coming to the city to film the third installment in Christopher Nolan's franchise starring recent Oscar winner Christian Bale in the title role. The city's architecture and diversity of locations helped to lure the production here.

"Pittsburgh is a beautiful city," the London-born director said in a statement. "We have been able to find everything we were looking for here, and I am excited to spend the summer in Pittsburgh with our final installment of Batman."

"The Dark Knight," released in July 2008, is the third-highest grossing film of all time. Its $533.3 million in North America puts it behind "Avatar" and "Titanic."

While interest in that movie was fueled, in part, by word of mouth about the late Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker, the Batman franchise has been spectacular from the start.

Until recently, Pittsburghers associated the crusader in cape and cowl with native son Michael Keaton, who starred in Tim Burton's reboot in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Now, the city will play host to the conclusion of another cycle.

Mr. Nolan, a favorite of audiences and critics who made "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight" along with "Inception," "The Prestige" and "Memento," met Tuesday with representatives of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

"We are thrilled to be welcoming the Batman film to Pittsburgh, and eager for the economic impact that our city will experience," the mayor said in a statement. "This is another example of the growing film industry in our community, and we will be rolling out the red carpet for them."

Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office, said the Warner Bros. production could be here for four to six weeks shooting in Downtown and nearby.

"They're still nailing down actual locations, but what they really fell in love with was the diversity of architecture and the gorgeous buildings that we still have in Downtown Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas," she said.

The deal has been four months in the making (and a couple of months in the rumor mill) and Ms. Keezer said the crew had looked at cities elsewhere in this country and abroad. Mr. Nolan and his staff have been in Pittsburgh multiple times.

"I think it's the most high-profile project we've seen. I think it's as a direct result of the success we've had with the film tax-credit program that Pittsburgh is on the map and southwestern Pennsylvania is considered now for every major production, which is great because it's all about jobs and money," Ms. Keezer said.

She said it was too early to predict how many local cast or crew may be hired or what the demand for extras may be.

However, she said, "A franchise as prestigious as Batman opens our region up to an entirely new audience as filmmakers and studio executives experience southwestern Pennsylvania."

In addition to starring Mr. Bale, who won an Academy Award for his work in "The Fighter," the third movie could return Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy to town, depending on what role Pittsburgh plays.

Ms. Hathaway, who made "Love & Other Drugs" with Jake Gyllenhaal here, has been cast as Selina Kyle while Mr. Hardy will play Bane in what Mr. Nolan calls a "new interpretation of one of Batman's most formidable enemies."

Mr. Hardy's star has been steadily rising since he shot "Warrior" in Pittsburgh in 2009 with Nick Nolte and Joel Edgerton. He was part of Mr. Nolan's ensemble in the brain-teasing "Inception."

Few details are known about the story at this point and that could be the case for some time. The film is slated to arrive in theaters nationwide July 20, 2012.

Mr. Nolan will direct "The Dark Knight Rises" from a screenplay he wrote with Jonathan Nolan, from a story by him and David S. Goyer.

Christopher Nolan also will produce the film with his longtime producing partner, Emma Thomas, and Charles Roven. Warner Bros. Pictures will distribute it.

"Dark Knight Rises" won't be the only movie shooting here in the next couple of months.

"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" and "Still I Rise" have been announced and Tuesday, the trade publication Variety reported "Parenthood" star Mae Whitman is set to join Logan Lerman and Emma Watson in the coming-of-age story by Stephen Chbosky.

She will play Mary Elizabeth, the protagonist's first girlfriend in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower."


Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: bvancheri@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1632. Read her Mad About the Movies blog at www.post-gazette.com/movies . First Published April 6, 2011 4:00 AM


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