‘Dark Knight Rises’ in New York! A Fan’s Experiences (Part 1)

Parking Notices for some movie called "Magnus Rex".

For the sequel to 2008’s smash hit The Dark Knight, director Christopher Nolan has abandoned Chicago as his Gotham City. Over the summer production took place in Pittsburgh. More recently Los Angeles took over as the prime site for production. However, for the past week, New York City and Newark have been the home of the final installment of Nolan’s Batman trilogy. As you can tell by scrolling through my blog, I am a HUGE Batman fan, but I also have a love for all things Chris Nolan has touched. Finally I was close enough to a location that this future mega-blockbuster would be filmed. I went in on two separate days and both days I found a lot to be excited about. This article will chronicle my first day and I will soon post about my second day.

The production title of the film is “Magnus Rex”, as all the no parking signs said on the street level. There were also plenty of trucks that has the Warner Bros. logo on the side. The streets were pretty clear as it was a weekday (Wednesday Nov. 2nd to be exact) but the set was still very busy. Production trucks held all of the equipment however one truck had an IMAX camera beside it. Wally Pfister, the cinematographer of the film, as well as the previous two, had stated a while back that he wanted to shoot more of this one with the IMAX camera.

It appeared that the scene being shot at the moment was on a rooftop of a nearby building. My friends and I knew we would see nothing just staying at street level so we went to a building close by and took an elevator to the top level. The very nice office workers let us onto the roof which had a great view of the set.

In yellow I circled the fire escape/roof that I took pictures from. The red arrow points to the roof they were shooting on. Click to enlarge.

While staring down at the set I noticed Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a cop uniform. Sadly, he had just finished filming for the day and shook everyone’s hands and took off. Christopher Nolan and Wally Pfister were both on set to film one more quick scene. Pfister actually noticed us on the fire escape above him waved and had someone take a picture (a year from now I will be checking every special feature on the Blu-Ray for my friends and I).

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is circled in yellow. In red is Chrsitopher Nolan, and in green is Wally Pfister. Click to enlarge.

Nolan addresses the crew and extras, mostly children, before the next scene.

Cinematographer Wally Pfister messes around on the swings between takes.

It was amazing to watch Christopher Nolan work. He was very calm on set and took time to talk to all of the extras and crew members individually. He is a very personable director and even for a low key shoot such as this his presence was felt. He and Wally Pfister consulted each other on every aspect of the shot. As for the actual scene, the camera moved slowly on an actor that I did not recognize. The shot was a close up with only a few extras (kids playing basketball) in the background.

The man circled in yellow was the focus of the shot. I did not recognize him.

After two takes of the scene the crew packed up for the day and left. The scene we saw was maybe five seconds at most and will probably have something to do with Gordon-Levitt’s character as he was on the set just before this. Even though there was no Batman or Catwoman I was very pleased to see this scene. I got to see how Nolan and Pfister work and that was enough to have me even more excited for The Dark Knight Rises. Look for part 2 of this feature in the next couple days where I got to see a part of the biggest action scene in the film being shot on Wall Street!

Note: all photos were taken by me, with my camera.

~ by mattsmoviethoughts on November 7, 2011.

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