Dear Pittsburgh: Leave Batman Alone


Pittsburgh, we love you — your picturesque bridges, your charming stadia, your impenetrable language. And we know it’s been a long, confusing summer in the Steel City — what with the Pirates’ cruel and all-encompassing collapse just when they were finally beginning to flirt with the upper echelons of mediocrity. We understand the last thing yinz need right now is a whole nother thing. So please take the following with a grain of salt and a sandwich with French Fries jammed in the middle, but it needs to be said: Pittsburgh, you have got to put the cell phones down.

Look, we’d be excited too if Christopher Nolan — the broody genius behind the Batman movies — decided to film in our neck of the woods. Your city’s fabulous architecture — not to mention its delectable pierogies — makes it a bold and fascinating choice to serve as Gotham in The Dark Knight Rises. And we’re sure your kind and welcoming populace has done everything to make the newly arrived crew of left-coast freaks, weirdos, and close-talkers feel right at home. Because, honestly, any metro area that can still be nice to this maroon can deal with a little tinseltown deviance now and then. But some of your citizens have treated the arrival of the Dark Knight like otherwise sane adults treat kittens stuck in boxes or teenagers treat every single aspect of their goddamn lives: with their BlackBerries out, recording.

So far we’ve been treated to the low-res, boredom-inspiring sight of Tom Hardy flexing in cargo pants, Anne Hathaway’s stunt-double taking out an Imax camera, and something or other happening in an otherwise empty football stadium. Today comes eye-closing footage of a Batplane — conveniently wedged onto the back of a Humancar — rounding a corner. Pittsburgh, your citizen entertainment journalism is making next summer’s most anticipated action movie looks as exciting as a local zoning-board meeting, only with lower production values.

Look, we know we live in an age of spoilers, where the desire to be first far outpaces any trace of patience. But can’t we let Nolan finish his self-important epic in peace? When we’re sitting in an air-conditioned theater next summer and Batman begins his aerial pursuit of Bane, the last thing we want echoing in our ears is the choochy voice of some bro in a Penguins jersey as he high-fives his friend.

So we beg of you, Pittsburgh. The next time you see Gary Oldman sipping an Iron City or Anne Hathaway spit-polishing her 3D goggles, do as the Steelers do in the Super Bowl and act like you’ve been there before. Besides, your blood rivals in Cleveland are remaining calm, despite the presence of cameras shooting Marvel’s upcoming Avengers film. And if those animals on the other side of the state line can keep it together, anybody can, right?

Andy Greenwald is an author and screenwriter in New York. He covers pop culture for Grantland.


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Filed Under: Batman, Christopher Nolan, Movies, The Dark Knight Rises

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Andy Greenwald is a staff writer for Grantland.

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