Batman leaves trail of destruction in Chicago

Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:49am EDT
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By Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - So you thought Batman's Gotham City was a stand-in for New York, just like Metropolis in the Superman comics?

Turns out you're wrong. Gotham actually is Chicago -- at least in the eyes of Christopher Nolan and his film "The Dark Knight," which opens July 18.

Its 2005 predecessor "Batman Begins," Nolan's first foray into comic book movies, took him home to Chicago, where he lived until his mid-teens. Impressed by the Windy City after three weeks of filming, he decided to spend four months shooting "Knight" there in spring and summer 2007.

One of the movie's strengths is its focus on realism. As a result, no longer is there the stylized Victorian or art deco version of the city seen in past Batman films.

"When people choose to stylize a city, they draw from one particular age of architecture, which for us didn't make sense. Real cities have a tremendous mix of architecture; they combine all eras," Nolan says. "In this film, we favor modernism compared to the last film. We still have a great mix of buildings and a realistic mix of buildings. But we decided to favor modernism because a lot of the story is set in the civic locations. . . . It's a nice balance between keeping the audience aesthetically engaged with the film but feeling more real, feeling more contemporary."

But pity the poor city. With a script that called for an all-out assault under elevated streets, hospitals being blown up and semi trucks flying end over end, Nolan put Chicago though a workout worthy of his costumed vigilante.

"Every day there was something being blown up or a high-speed chase or a free-fall aerial drop," says Richard Moskal, director of the Chicago Film Office.

By all accounts, the city more than withstood the assault.   Continued...

<p>A publicity image for "The Dark Knight" courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures. REUTERS/Handout</p>