The NFL lockout might be over, but life for the Pittsburgh Steelers was certainly not back to usual on Saturday, when Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight Rises" swooped into Heinz Field and recast the team as the Gotham Rogues.
Clad in familiar black-and-gold uniforms, the Steelers-turned-Rogues included Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, Willie Colon, Troy Polamalu and Heath Miller, according to multiple local reports. Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher returned to the sideline to play the Rogues' coach. Cowher and crew were joined by more than 10,000 extras, bussed in to film a fictional game between the Rogues and the Rapid City Monuments.
The shoot itself dives into some spoilery territory, so if you'd like to remain blissfully unaware of the goings-on in Gotham during "Dark Knight Rises," in which Batman faces off against Bane, turn back now!
Reports from the scene indicate that the football game is violently interrupted, with explosions, the presence of three tumblers and the arrival of Bane. After the players are reportedly killed and the assembled crowd is freaked the hell out, the villain comes out onto the mangled field, grabs a microphone and makes an announcement about how Gotham has been liberated.
What's perhaps most interesting about Bane in all this is how sickly he sounds. According to DC Comics lore, Bane became a test subject for something called Venom, a substance to which he becomes so addicted he needs it to survive. Couple that sickly voice with the production picture of a thick scar on Bane's neck, and we're starting to get an idea of a bad guy who is deeply unwell, not only in mind but in body.
The shoot stretched into the evening, starting off with straight football scenes and concluding with Bane's destructive entrance and announcement. It's just the latest on-location shoot for the city of Pittsburgh this summer, but residents appear to be embracing the whole thing.
"Forget Hollywood. You guys were great," an assistant director told the crowd at one point, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "I'll come to Pittsburgh any time for extras."
Check out everything we've got on "The Dark Knight Rises."