I have always thought that Pittsburgh would make a great Gotham City. In the dingy loft apartment where we lived just after being married, I used to love looking out the kitchen window over the rooftops toward the river. This abandoned flour factory was incredibly beautiful in the evening, silhouetted against the setting sun.
Pittsburgh is full of soot stained brick, and romantic post industrial abandoned warehouses. There is also a pretty good tax credit for moviemakers, so I wasn’t too surprised when it was recently announced that the next Batman installment would be shot in part in Pittsburgh.
Yesterday, a picturesque brick row house in my neighborhood became a wintry Gotham City judge’s residence for the day. Evidently Gary Oldman and Marion Cotillard were right around the corner as I picked tomatoes and hung laundry on the line.
Here in Pittsburgh we are still riding out a sizzling summer heat wave. The temperature hovers just below 100 and the humidity is high enough to taste in the sodden air. Here is a shot of rush hour traffic crawling down the hill outside my home.
But just around the corner, a fleet of white trucks and a huge crew of sweating and bustling Hollywood people blew in with the force of a blizzard, transforming the Pittsburgh summer into a dull grey winter day in Gotham City.
I didn’t envy the actors at all. I can’t imagine spending any time wearing heavy coats and wool on a hundred degree day, but I have to admit I always feel a bit of a yearning to be in the crew somehow. It seems like it would be interesting to shovel snow in July.
The backstage people making a movie happen are fascinating to me. They are tanned and fit and moving very quickly and set apart from the world outside. There is a bit of a cowboy quality to the set of their jaw and long loping stride. Somehow the jobs reminds me of my time as a landscaper, and produce person with a knife at my belt, migrant fruit picker and theatre person all wrapped into one. The difference is, I hear making a movie (at least a major one) actually pays well. I suppose it is too late for me to run away and join the movies- but I am glad that now and then I can turn the corner and watch one being made right in my neighborhood.
Interested in reading more about my Pittsburgh adventures? Check out: