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The Batmobile Parks Right Down the Street from the INI

August 08, 2011

From mid-July to early August, the view from the INI down Henry Street included a bright orange 'Road Closed' sign and multiple other roadblocks. The side streets of Oakland were littered with large trucks and trailers, traffic barriers and patrolmen. So, what was going on that had all the locals buzzing and workers setting this all up in 90 degree heat? The filming of Christopher Nolan's third edition to the Batman series, The Dark Knight Rises, had come to Oakland and Carnegie Mellon.

If you've ever been to Carnegie Mellon's Mellon Institute or Software Engineering Institute, you may recognize some of the backdrops in the upcoming film. The movie won't be coming to theaters until summer 2012, but it's been rumored that Mellon Institute is being used as Gotham City Hall, and fight scene pictures right on it's steps have already surfaced. Starring big names like Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman and Anne Hathaway, it's no wonder the film's presence is causing such a stir.

In fact, it's presence adds further support to the rumors that Pittsburgh is becoming the 'new Hollywood.'  Although it's obvious that the 'Burgh is not going to replace this famous Los Angeles district anytime soon, with hit movies such as I Am Number Four, The Next Three Days, Love and Other Drugs, and Unstoppable being shot here just in the last couple of years, it's possible to see where this speculation is coming from.

The INI's own Distributed Education Support Specialist, Robert Neill, has previously worked on productions that came to Pittsburgh. "The one thing that every filmmaker unanimously liked about this town was that it could be made to look like any location or city," he said. "That, combined with the rustic quality of a lot of it's architecture makes it a standout for filming purposes."

In addition to the city's versatility and gorgeous architectural structures, perhaps film production companies want to take advantage of the Pennsylvania Film Production Tax Credit, or have been drawn in by it's charm and welcoming atmosphere that Pittsburgh natives have known of all along. Either way, other than the occasional traffic jam, Pittsburgher's seem thrilled to have Batman's production crew visiting.

"Subject material like this that is so universally known to everyone worldwide (even based on a symbol alone) is great credit for Pittsburgh to be host to," Neill says. "It is a testament to Pittsburgh's versatility as a visual city."

Pictured: Road closings and film crews clogged the roads near Henry street while passerbys strained their necks to catch a glimse of the Batmobile.

Street closings near Henry Street

Film crew on Fifth Avenue

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