Batman filming resumes Downtown; explosions ensue

Leave it to the moms to be prepared.

Jessie Friedrich of Pine of Emily Aftanas of Oakmont brought three boys -- and Ziplock bags -- Downtown today. The boys were there to see the filming of "The Dark Knight Rises" and the handy plastic bags were to take a little fake snow home as souvenirs.

Lots of folks were scooping up handfuls of the fluffy, papery mix and there was plenty being sprinkled all around Cherry Way and Third Avenue near the Salvation Army building and beyond for an action scene involving three Tumblers and a gray military vehicle (it has no catchy name yet) that's been a film fixture of late.

The "Bathole" that had been dug on Cherry Way came into play today as it erupted into fire and one of the Tumblers literally tumbled inside the crater and was covered with debris -- and, at one point, flipped upside down.

Alex Friedrich, 5, wanted to wear his full Batman gear but it was too hot so he settled for a T-shirt with the logo. That was enough to catch the eye of a high-ranking crew member who allowed him, brother Ben Friedrich, 8, and Tyler Aftanas, 4, to get a rare close-up look at the Tumblers in between filming.

They had been hoping to see the Batwing but had to settle for the tarp concealing it.


They were among adults and children dodging or trying to get close to the Caped Crusader and his entourage of crew members as several Downtown streets closed for production of the Batman movie.

Christian Bale -- or any costumed characters -- were not in evidence today for the driving scenes.

Fourth and Forbes avenues were closed between Grant and Smithfield streets and Cherry Way was blocked from Third to Fifth avenues.

The block of Cherry Way between Third and the Boulevard of the Allies was periodically closed as the vehicles zipped down from their starting point near Primanti's. Traffic may be halted at times on Smithfield and Fifth when the cameras are rolling.

Security guards and police were keeping pedestrians and vehicles off the closed streets. Some businesses are closed and many Downtown workers were detoured on their way to their offices. Bus and vehicle traffic appeared to be moving fairly well around the closures, though.

Three Port Authority bus routes -- 56 Lincoln Place, 57 Hazelwood and 58 Greenfield -- were detoured around the closed streets and delays are possible on dozens of other routes because of the street closures and additional film activity in the center lane of Smithfield Street from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Today's activity is expected to include gunfire and explosions. According to Port Authority, the street closures are to remain in effect until 6 a.m. Friday.

The movie, starring Mr. Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and others, finishes in Pittsburgh on Sunday and moves to Los Angeles and, later, New York. It will be released in theaters on July 20, 2012.

Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: or 412-263-1632. Read her Mad About the Movies blog at . Jon Schmitz: or 412-263-1868. Visit the PG???s transportation blog, The Roundabout, at . Twitter: @pgtraffic. First Published August 18, 2011 12:30 PM


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