Four Places to Spot Christian Bale and the Batman Crew Around Town

Pittsburgh has been overtaken by the cast and crew of The Dark Knight Rises.


Image by Dan Rugh, Commonwealth Press

From the thousands who turned up at casting calls to the persistent (false) rumors that director Christopher Nolan and his team are planning to blow up the Civic Arena during filming, Allegheny County has been gripped with a serious case of Bat Fever.

Since none of us can actually see the new Batman film until next July, there’s no cure in sight; however, there is a healthy way to express your Batmania and explore our fair city: a spirited night of bat hunting! News of cast sightings will likely dominate most local Twitter feeds this month, but if you want to track down the caped crusader (played by Christian Bale), you’ll have to be prepared.

To aid your hunt, Pittsburgh magazine chatted with Jeff Bigley, a Batman expert and owner of Arkham Gift Shoppe, a comic-book store in Allison Park. Based on his extensive knowledge of the comics and films, we were able to pick out a few likely spots for you to find Bale and company.

Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail
The namesake of Arkham Gift Shoppe is Gotham’s notorious Arkham Asylum. The old downtown prison is from the same era, and the Pittsburgh Film Office has made no secret of the fact that Pittsburgh’s architecture drew Nolan to the city. Furthermore, Bane, a villain who will be played by Tom Hardy in the last film of Nolan’s trilogy, freed all of Arkham’s inmates in the comics. “It looks like the jail and courthouse could fit into Gotham City,” Bigley says. “The casting called for thugs and cops—that might be for a riot in the streets.”

Heinz Field
The home of the Pittsburgh Steelers is a confirmed shooting location, and rumors of a Gotham football team appearing in the film have surfaced. Bigley speculates that a crowded stadium could be an ideal place for one of the film’s maniacal bad guys to attack. “What better way to gather together 60,000 people? In the casting call, they did ask for sports fans,” he points out.

Cultural District
“Gotham tends to morph into what it needs to be,” says Bigley. And, he adds, Pittsburgh probably won’t be identifiable to an outsider: In the first two films, Nolan and his crew were careful to keep Gotham looking like Gotham and not previous filming locales (England and Chicago). “The theater district could make Pittsburgh look like a bigger city, though,” Bigley adds. “Gotham City has a population of eight to 10 million.”

Hill District, North Side and Mount Washington
Anne Hathaway will play Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises. According to Bigley, the most likely backstory for her character would be a working-class girl turned cat burglar. Her neighborhood, then, may well be a blue-collar area with a view of downtown, like Mount Washington, the Hill District or North Side. Don’t assume Bale and Hathaway will be brawling in the streets, though. “She may actually play more as an ally to Batman,” Bigley says. “She’s never really been an evil character.”

UPDATE
Since we went to print with our speculations on the whereabouts of the Caped Crusader, cast and crew have invaded Pittsb- er, Gotham City!

The impending superhero influx was welcomed on Wednesday night, July 27, when a laser-outlined Bat Signal appeared surreptitiously on the wall of Fifth Avenue Place, creating a striking effect to visitors entering downtown via the Fort Pitt Bridge. From there, it was just a matter of waiting for the sightings to begin.

 

A long list of downtown street closures was announced last week, and almost all of the affected blocks are in the middle of the Golden Triangle—the better to mask Pittsburgh's identity and take advantage of densely packed urban buildings, as Bigley alluded. Photos from a shooting location also surfaced in Lawrenceville, featuring cast members Gary Oldman and Marion Cotillard. And while Anne Hathaway, the franchise's new Catwoman, has been spotted in Oakland, as of now, she hasn't been seen in action. (Maybe Hathaway was just after some Pitt grub—she's familiar with Pittsburgh, after all, having previously filmed Love and Other Drugs in town.)

Perhaps the biggest splash was made when photos of Batman (Christian Bale) brawling with villain Bane (Tom Hardy) in Oakland surfaced. Thugs and police officers can be seen brawling in the background; could it be that campus buildings at Pitt and CMU are actually filling in for Arkham Asylum, rather than the old Courthouse (as we speculated?) Perhaps...you can scour the web for potential spoilers if you like, or you could simply wait until the summer of 2012 to get all the info. And filming has just begun—Catwoman may show up at your door yet! If you've got any great stories about filming locations or encounters, let us know in the comments!

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best Restaurants 2017

Best Restaurants 2017

This year Pittsburgh Magazine's independent Restaurant Review Panel recognizes 34 establishments as our regions's top restaurants. Our list includes All Arounders, Killer Casual, Fancy Night Out, Best Budget and Classic Comfort establishments.
Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Bill Fuller’s portfolio includes overseeing five specialty restaurants — Eleven Contemporary Kitchen, Casbah Mediterranean Kitchen and Wine Bar, Soba, umi and Kaya — as well as 14 fast-casual Mad Mex restaurants and a full-service catering operation. Even in an increasingly competitive environment, his restaurants remain in-demand and relevant.
Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Apteka, operated by Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski, is a vegan eatery that draws on Lasky’s sixth-generation Pittsburgh roots and Skowronski’s Polish heritage.
Can the Restoration of a Church Lead to the Revival of a Town?

Can the Restoration of a Church Lead to the Revival of a Town?

A small group of dedicated residents sees the restoration of their church in Tarentum as a window to the potential rebirth of their once-booming community in suburban Pittsburgh.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference Helps Writers Tell Their Stories

Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference Helps Writers Tell Their Stories

The fifth annual Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference brings writers from across the country together to improve their craft.
Watch: Radio-Synced Highlights of Pens 7-0 Win in Game 5

Watch: Radio-Synced Highlights of Pens 7-0 Win in Game 5

Nothing beats listening to Mike Lange describe a Penguins' goal.
Break It Down: Byham Theater

Break It Down: Byham Theater

When you walk into the Sixth Street entryway of the Byham Theater, Downtown, you will see patches of green and black tile on the walls: These are originals from the early 20th century, says John Mumper, facilities manager at the Byham. The grand theater has plenty of history to go with its 100-plus years; let’s break it down.
 Wiz Khalifa to Headline Thrival 2017

Wiz Khalifa to Headline Thrival 2017

It’s the first time a Pittsburgh artist is headlining the annual innovation and music festival.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best Restaurants 2017

Best Restaurants 2017

This year Pittsburgh Magazine's independent Restaurant Review Panel recognizes 34 establishments as our regions's top restaurants. Our list includes All Arounders, Killer Casual, Fancy Night Out, Best Budget and Classic Comfort establishments.
Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Bill Fuller’s portfolio includes overseeing five specialty restaurants — Eleven Contemporary Kitchen, Casbah Mediterranean Kitchen and Wine Bar, Soba, umi and Kaya — as well as 14 fast-casual Mad Mex restaurants and a full-service catering operation. Even in an increasingly competitive environment, his restaurants remain in-demand and relevant.
Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Apteka, operated by Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski, is a vegan eatery that draws on Lasky’s sixth-generation Pittsburgh roots and Skowronski’s Polish heritage.
Can the Restoration of a Church Lead to the Revival of a Town?

Can the Restoration of a Church Lead to the Revival of a Town?

A small group of dedicated residents sees the restoration of their church in Tarentum as a window to the potential rebirth of their once-booming community in suburban Pittsburgh.
Remembering Henry Hillman

Remembering Henry Hillman

Reflecting on the impact of the businessman, civic visionary and philanthropist.
How David Freese is Helping to Keep Pirates' on Course

How David Freese is Helping to Keep Pirates' on Course

The Pirates’ infielder emerges as a team leader — and an offensive powerhouse.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference Helps Writers Tell Their Stories

Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference Helps Writers Tell Their Stories

The fifth annual Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference brings writers from across the country together to improve their craft.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Station's Hours Expand and Le Lyonnais Opens Downtown

Station's Hours Expand and Le Lyonnais Opens Downtown

Station, the excellent Bloomfield eatery, now offers lunch service. The Big Y Group opens a French bistro in the space previously occupied by Sonoma Grille.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


Vital Happy Hour Alert: Great Cocktails at the Wigle Tasting Room

Vital Happy Hour Alert: Great Cocktails at the Wigle Tasting Room

The third outpost of local distillery Wigle, found in the Omni William Penn Hotel, is an instant destination for cocktail fans.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Time Running Out for Penguins to Respond to Senators

Time Running Out for Penguins to Respond to Senators

The Penguins suddenly have a lot to sort out as they attempt to respond to another disappointing playoff loss.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Pittsburgh on a Plate

Pittsburgh on a Plate

The way to a beer lover’s heart is mapped out on notNeutral’s plate, which highlights Pittsburgh breweries (and other points of interest) across the city.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The Alien Series Jumps the Shark with Covenant

The Alien Series Jumps the Shark with Covenant

Reviews of "Alien: Covenant" and "Everything, Everything," as well as local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
New York Bridal Designer Shares Her Secrets

New York Bridal Designer Shares Her Secrets

Pennsylvania native Jaclyn Jordan brings her newest collection to the Blanc de Blanc Bridal Boutique in Carrick.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Get to the North Side for Home & Garden Tour, Epic Yard Sale

Get to the North Side for Home & Garden Tour, Epic Yard Sale

Explore lavish homes and gardens with the West Allegheny Historic District’s annual Tour and Tasting, or go on the hunt for hidden treasure during The Great Mexican War Streets Yard Sale.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Explore Your Future with Point Park University

Explore Your Future with Point Park University

The university will host three summer workshops for high school students from July 17-20.

Comments