'Dark Knight Rises' features Manhattan locales for key scenes
The thousands of city batfans who are expected to pack theaters to see "The Dark Knight Rises" will be seeing a lot of familiar characters return to the silver screen, but they also will recognize a local figure: the Big Apple.
For the first time, a Batman movie used Manhattan as a backdrop for parts of Gotham City.
Michael Uslan, the executive producer of all the Batman films since the '80s, said director Christopher Nolan changed things up after filming in Chicago for the last two movies, and gave audiences a bigger scope of the Caped Crusader's home.
"Just like New York, Gotham [in the comics] is so huge and each part feels like a different city," the New Jersey native said. "[Nolan] wanted to show what the other parts and other neighborhoods look like."
Although filmmakers used Pittsburgh, London, Los Angeles and Newark for outdoor shots, they chose key New York locations for some of the movie's pivotal scenes. Nolan used the Trump Tower as the Wayne Enterprise building and took over Wall Street back in November to film a fight among Batman, cops, Bane and mercenaries.
Steve Smith, 25, of the Upper East Side, was at the Wall Street shoot and said he was amazed at how the crew turned the location into Gotham without CGI.
"They changed the subway signs to read 'Gotham subway station,' " he recalled.
For all of the attention the movie will give to the city, Batman owes his popularity to New York.
Bronx natives Bob Kane and Bill Finger created the masked hero in 1939, and the early stories set him in New York. Even though their publisher had the location changed to a fictional setting, the pair always made sure New York's imprint was there.
"Every time you see Gotham, it evokes New York from different eras," said Uslan, who has written several books on the history of superheroes.