BATMAN ON FILM, 'The Dark Knight Fansite!' Est. 1998.

Chicago 2 TDK Shoot Report

Chi-Town TDK Shoot Report
Author: Cary Ashby
Monday, June 25, 2007, 6:00 PM CENTRAL TIME

I took a "Batman Chicago Vacation" from June 20-24 specifically to scope out what I could see of TDK filming. And I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I'll be relishing telling stories about this for years to come.

First of all, here are some suggestions and things to keep in mind if you decide to do something similar:

1) Remember the 3 F's - be friendly, forthcoming and flexible. If you're cool with people, even under the toughest circumstances, they'll usually be cool with you.

2) Ask a lot of people a lot of questions. You never know who can direct you where.

3) Play nice with others. Remember that the TDK (er, "Rory's First Kiss") people have a job to do and that's what they're doing.

Morning of June 21 (Navy Pier) - The first person I asked about TDK was a groundskeeper who immediately volunteered to take me to a xxxxx set, expected to be used for a few days of filming starting June 26. The set is on the north side of the Grand Ballroom at the very far end of the pier facility.

He tipped me off that TDK was filming on West Randolph Street in "a parking lot" (actually a parking deck) for fight and chase scenes and one involving the Batsignal.

Night of June 21 (parking deck) - My cousin and I spotted a crane that held two massive lights illuminating the skydeck of a West Randolph Street parking deck. We made our way up a deck across the street which allowed us to see the Gotham City Police Department rooftop set and the deck below, the site of several scenes.

The GCPD set features many large heating/air conditioning vents and The Batsignal, which was covered by a plastic tarp. (A lone crew man was painting the side of it black when it was uncovered the next morning.) We freaked when we saw a person wearing the Batman costume (without the cowl) walking near the middle of the skydeck. His cape nicely billowed briefly.

About 30 minutes after the Batman sighting, we heard two distinct gun shots. So we zipped down several levels to watch about six thugs in gray and black suits drawing large machine guns on someone probably parallel to the white conversion van parked along the edge of the deck.

One of the gawkers, Matt, told me he earlier had seen a stunt Batman flip one of the thugs over his shoulder and The Batmobile being driven through the deck. He also said he saw two black cars drive in, the armed thugs get out, push a man in his 20s to the ground while yelling and pointing the guns at him.

Click for the Warner Bros. Online

Morning of June 22 (parking deck) - I ventured back to the filming neighborhood and used the elevator to go to the fifth level, one below where filming was taking place. There were lots of vehicles there (no Gotham City license plates - darn!), but there were four Batmobiles covered by black tarps parked along the far wall.

I kneeled down in an empty parking space, about 10 feet from the driver's side front bumper of the first Batmobile. I had my camera out when I heard a firm voice politely say, "I can't let you do that." Drat!

Night of June 22 (parking deck) - Batmobiles, Christian Bale and Chris Nolan, oh my!

My guess is this is the closest I'll come to a confirmed Bale-as-Batman sighting. He was wearing the Batsuit (without the cowl or cape), but with black circles around both eyes. The reason I believe it was “The Man” was because we could account for and see three Bat-stuntmen on the same parking level (all with dark hair but decidedly NOT Bale, one of whom had a bald spot!). Further evidence were two small doors in the crew trailers on nearby cross streets labeled "Faux Batman" and a third marked "B double."

The crew was filming in the same corner where the white van was last night. This time there were two black curtains in the same parking spaces. Nolan walked back and forth talking to everyone, dressed nicely in a black blazer, white button-down shirt and khaki slacks. The assumed Bale Batman at one point went to the scene behind the curtains and briefly came out in full regalia to quickly chat with the crew before returning to the scene.

Earlier, two crew members pulled a black tarp off The Batmobile on the skydeck, opened the cockpit and inspected it with a flashlight. After the scene with Bale, we noticed the crew rolled another Batmobile where the curtains had been and backed it up for another shotor scene in the same area. About the same time, the crew set up lights in the middle part of the exit ramp.

I asked about the dogs my cousin and I had seen on the skydeck last night (and again another day in crates in the back of a van plus being trained briefly in the lot behind the deck). She said they were used to chase Batman.

Night of June 23 (parking deck) - What a night! My cousin and I watched two takes with that infamous white van driving around the deck with Batman clinging to the pack of the passenger side with a camera mounted on the passenger side mirror. The funniest part was watching the van CREEP backwards - with Batman still in the same spot - to go back to the starting point.

Several crew members made their way up to the GCPD roof set. One of the crew held a lens decorated with The Batsymbol, which he installed into the Batsignal and activated briefly. A functioning Batsignal...Too cool!

A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: To read more detailed accounts of Cary's (mis?)adventures, log onto NORWALKREFLECTOR.COM/BLOGS.

BOF contributor Cary Ashby is a diehard Batman fan who has collected comics on and off for about the last 25 years. He writes a twice-monthly column for the "Norwalk Reflector" newspaper, where he is the criminal justice reporter.

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