BATMAN ON FILM, since June 1998!
TDK In Chicago (4/24/07) #2

From "Syren Callista":

Well, everyone, this could be my last set report before the production moves to London. However, this is a great way to end it because it is a doozy of a report. I cannot preface this heavily enough that this report has a SCENE SPOILER. Read at your own peril. (Mouse-over to read)

I arrived at 9am. At that point they were already in the process of filming in front of the post office, using a grey jeep with a camera crane mounted on it to film:

The gray suburban comes around the corner and comes to a fast stop infront of the post office/ ank stairs. The three goons and The Joker (Heath himself, in mask) jump out of the car. He hangs back for a moment, looking around and scoping out the area as the others run straight through the doors and inside. Wash rinse and repeat for three times that I saw.

Done with that, pretty much the entire production crew that was out on the street for that scene moves down the street to where the school bus is in the fake wall. Commence an hour of setup work, with a camera being setup on the Canal St. side of the street (looking down Van Buren and towards the bus.) The scene is partially being filmed by the camera truck, which is on its own wooden ramp right next to the bus, so that its back half is lifted perhaps a foot off of the ground.

As they are setting up, SEVEN (not twenty), seven other school buses come down Van Buren, facing towards Wacker, cued up on the street. At this point an idea started to form in my head...and it turned out to be right.

Last chance to avoid your SPOILER here! (Mouse-over to read)

The extras are all set, normal cars, Gotham Police cars (regular and SUV type) and Gotham cabs are all set. The scene begins to roll:

All of the school buses begin to drive past the fake wall/school bus that is in the wall. Who is driving it? Heath Ledger's stunt double (who has green hair, identical costume, no makeup, and clown mask).

In between the sixth and the seventh bus, the Joker-driven school bus pulls out of the broken wall (with debris on top no less) and joins the caravan of school buses. As they are pulling away, five Gotham squad cars rush up to the broken wall and CUT!

This scene repeated approximately five times, and on the sixth time the scene began to run, but was interupted by the fire that has already been talked about.

So there you have it, the school bus is the escape vehicle, and it escapes by joining a convoy of seven other buses.

After the fire debacle, which occurred around 11:20am, they were preparing to shoot again around 1 or so. During this time, after the fire trucks had cleared out, partial demolition took place on the fake wall, with the doors and broken framework being removed.

As this was happening, the grey suburban was being set up on the corner of Van Buren and Canal, just around the corner from the bank. The actors playing The Joker goons and the identically dressed stunt drivers were all there, and eventually one of the stunt drivers got behind the wheel.

Unique to this scene being filmed was that in the back of the surburban, inside, was a camera, and at least three people and Christopher Nolan all crammed into it. When they were finally ready to shoot, Heath Ledger appears in mask and costume. The extras and cars begin moving and they film Ledger getting into the car. Then the car goes around the corner, stops infront of the bank, and all four clowns get out and storm the bank. Seems to be a continuation/extension of what I saw earlier.

They ran this scene about four times, before they stopped. Ledger talked with some people briefly (which let me get off a few pictures) and then waved to them and went inside. I left at this point, though I understand that more filming was being setup to take place.

All in all it was a very exciting day. Also, I wanted to note: Ledger appears paler in these pictures than he did to my naked eye. HOWEVER, his face did seem paler to me than is normal, just not as pale as the picture suggests.

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