'Batman' reunites Cowher, Steelers
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Batman, meet Big Ben.
The new labor agreement in the NFL banned teams from practicing twice a day, but it says nothing about Ben Roethlisberger and his Steelers teammates practicing for good old Gotham on the set of the new Batman movie this morning.
Roethlisberger and about a dozen of his veteran teammates will take part in the filming of "The Dark Knight Rises" playing -- what else? -- football players at a familiar venue for them, Heinz Field.
And the Gotham coach is none other than Bill Cowher, who will return to the coaching profession for the first time since he left the Steelers after the 2006 season, even if only in a movie. Kevin Colbert, the Steelers director of football operations, will reunite with Cowher as an assistant coach for Gotham.
The production, which has been filming in Pittsburgh since July 29, moves this morning to the Steelers' home, where thousands of extras playing fans have been recruited. The Steelers will return to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe for a real football practice under the direction of coach Mike Tomlin this afternoon.
Roethlisberger has become close with Thomas Tull, the film's executive producer who joined the Steelers ownership group two years ago. Tull helped influence the shooting of the movie in Pittsburgh, and he has been trying to get the Steelers involved. Christopher Nolan is directing the third in his Batman trilogy. The movie stars Christian Bale as Batman and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman.
"I'm kind of getting everybody together," Roethlisberger told the Post-Gazette. "I heard it's going to be a neat thing at the stadium. I don't think it will be a big part, it's not like we're chasing Batman down or anything. It's something neat that in 10 years or 20 years we can tell our kids we were in a movie. Thomas does movies big, and I'm sure it will be a big-time movie and something fun to be part of."
Among teammates expected to join Roethlisberger are Hines Ward, Willie Colon, Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Wallace, Heath Miller, Aaron Smith, Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu, James Farrior and Casey Hampton.
There will be an early call for the football-playing actors -- they must be on the set by 7 a.m. today, and this comes after Friday night's practice in Latrobe.
"From what I've heard, it's going to be like a pregame, warming-up type thing," Roethlisberger said of the Steelers' roles. "I don't know the whole concept. There's a Gotham team, a football game. We'll be wearing uniforms. It will be fun."
First Published August 6, 2011 12:00 am