In late May, to mark the start of "Dark Knight Rises" production in Pittsburgh, we got our first look at the newest villain to face off against Batman: Tom Hardy as the broad-backed, rubber-face-mask-rocking Bane. That juicy, studio-approved first look, it turned out, was a harbinger of spoiler-y sneak peeks to come.
Over the next three months, we feasted our eyes upon villains and vehicles and massive action set pieces and more. The free-for-all, though, is probably at an end, as "Dark Knight Rises" production in Pittsburgh has wrapped ahead of a shift to Los Angeles, where on-set security is likely to be significantly tighter. So as we bid goodbye to Batman's adventures in the Steel City, let's take a look at the five coolest things we've peeped since May.
Kickoff at Heinz Field
Early in August, director Christopher Nolan took over the Pittsburgh Steelers' home stadium of Heinz Field for an epic action sequence in which NFL stars like Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu got into character as the Gotham Rogues in front of 10,000 extras. For once, these gridiron greats weren't the center of the action, as the game was interrupted by the explosive arrival of Bane and a few camouflaged tumblers.
We need not rehash the not-exactly-warm reception to the photographic debut of Anne Hathaway in character as Catwoman. A far more perilous situation unfolded days later when Hathaway's stunt double crashed the Batpod into a cameraman working with a super-expensive IMAX camera. Reportedly, neither the camera nor the operator was injured. So that's good, as was the peek at the scene they were shooting: police officers beating the heck out of people outside Gotham City Hall.
Everywhere you looked in Pittsburgh, there were tumblers — those armed vehicles Christian Bale made into his newfangled Batmobile. Where'd they all come from? And what the heck happened to one of them, which wound up buried in rubble? Our guess is Batman's latest badass vehicle is responsible for the damage.
Batwing Takes Flight
The latest vehicle, of course, is the Batwing. In mid-August, we got our first look at the craft, which has popped up in previous "Batman" films but never before in Nolan's versions. Gone was any resemblance to director Tim Burton's earlier iteration, or the Batplanes present throughout comic-book history; in their place was an ultra-realistic aircraft that seemingly owes its existence, like the tumbler, to a military design.
Bane Takes on Batman
Of all the many character-centric set pics, our favorite is probably this one of Bane grappling with Batman. For all the high-tech gadgets this movie will feature, the fight between these two adversaries might well come down to some old-fashioned fisticuffs. The photo also showcased a fat scar on Bane's neck, perhaps Nolan's way of explaining the villain's life-or-death addiction to an experimental drug called Venom.
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