2014 in review

Posted: December 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 270,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 12 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Image  —  Posted: October 27, 2014 in Batman-Superman

Filming of at least a couple of scenes of Batman V Superman happened in Orion Oaks County Park, Lake Orion, Michigan last week. While everyone’s eyes were on the filming site in Metamora, and elsewhere, it seems that the BvS production had spent the last few weeks building structures in the park. I posted some of my photographs here on my blog, and others I shared via Batman News. When I shared my pictures I actually held some back, because they were kind of spoilery. I mean, everyone knows that Bruce Wayne’s parents are buried in a crypt near Wayne Manor, and that Bruce visits their graves. Not a spoiler! Other pictures I was less happy about sharing openly at this point. However, since then, a lot of other people wandering through the park have spotted the sets and published photographs, and there is a little confusion about what’s going on. So this is a clarification, with a few more pictures that are no longer secret.

At the entrance to the set, in the middle of the public path into the park was a sign with two arrows, one pointing to MANOR and one to MAUSOLEUM. The structure on the hill, a dilapidated house of two rooms only, clearly destroyed and abandoned, is the MANOR. The obvious crypt-like building with WAYNE above the door is the MAUSOLEUM. Two sets. Whether they are related in the movie is anyone’s guess, though I do think it is possible to see the crypt from the window of the manor. In fact, thinking about it now, this is maybe why they did build this set here rather than in studio — precisely so that the crypt could be viewed across the bleak, grassy field from the manor house windows. You wouldn’t film in the other direction as the outside of the ‘manor’ is clearly a movie set! So, is the abandoned structure actually what’s left of Wayne Manor…? I don’t know the comics and the storylines well enough to speculate. We have heard rumors that Bruce Wayne has left the manor and is living in a smaller cottage by a lake (the Metamora site?). So that would fit. Maybe.


Above is the side of the ‘manor’ facing the crypt. If you zoom in you can see that vegetation is growing around and into the windows. Something bad definitely happened to this house!


Again you can see the room on the right is damaged — window broken, wall partly destroyed, Inside everything is gray. Stonework is hard to make out but there’s a big stone fireplace on the far wall.


Above is the ‘front’ of the house with the broken piano. My guess — fire damage. Maybe.


I’d actually seen this building and assumed it had always been there! Unless you stopped to think how incongruous this is in a public park, you would just walk by. It looks 100% real and a 100 years old. Love the attention to detail.

So yesterday it seems that the Batman V Superman production spent a day filming inside the Orion Oaks County Park in Lake Orion, Michigan. CCP signs had been spotted a day or two prior to the trucks and trailers moving in. The last weeks of filming in Michigan seem to be sneak attacks! They move in and move out, and I’m guessing that most days no  one even notices. What’s amazing about this set is that it is a fairly substantial structure, right in the middle of a public park, and yet no one seems to have seen it, or at least talked about it on Twitter! Filming here was a day shoot, and intrepid explorers were thwarted from access to the set by security on the trails who informed people simply that ‘ the trails are closed today.’ OK. Going off-trail in the park was a tough option, well actually a muddy one, and there was the additional danger of hunters. Yes, the park allows archery hunting, and it’s the season. Make sure to wear hunter orange.

The construction looked to be some kind of building — high ceilings, possibly two rooms. A local rumor suggested that this might be some kind of crypt. The building did have a decayed, derelict look about it, maybe even vegetation creeping over the inside? Why film this here instead of at the studios? Maybe they needed the bleak background for the setting? We’ll have to wait until 2016 to find out for sure.


So these pics are what they are.. not in great focus and Gal is walking away from the camera, but some days are like that! Still it was interesting to know that she will be in Lex’s party scene and I think it’s the first time we’ve seen her ‘on set’ since a couple of photos way back in May as Diana Prince. For great photos of the stunning Ms Gadot, see her own Instagram feed, and a thousand other websites. For fuzzy, atmospheric ones, this is the place ;)

We were expecting to see him on set at MSU sooner or later, after all it’s his house and his party. Jesse Eisenberg arrived on set tonight wearing a hat. Aha! Never before has there been so much debate about a character’s hair. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to catch him later dressed as the host of what looked to be a very fancy red carpet event, so for now we’ll have to make do with Jesse in his natural state.


Yes, it turns out that the spectacular Eli and Edythe Board Art Museum on the MSU campus is indeed standing in for Lex Luthor’s residence in Batman V Superman. Lex is throwing a big party, and everyone is invited! We’d already guessed that the building might have something to do with LexCorp because the LexCorp truck had been seen on set, but this was confirmed by a source tonight. We might also see a certain white Rolls Royce Wraith parked outside, since another source has confirmed that the car I photographed in Detroit, does in fact belong to Lex Luthor himself. Apparently a lot of interesting things have been created inside the museum. Sadly we have to wait 18 months to see them. Well that sucks!

Extras were seen arriving at the set late in the afternoon. Men in business attire, women dressed for an event. And extras as waiters and bar staff, because we know that just in the entrance-way of that house there is a bar that used to be Starbucks!

Exactly who is invited? Well, tonight on set I’m pretty sure I saw Ben Affleck’s feet, and I did hear someone say they saw the rest of him. He wasn’t in the Bat costume (if he was the internet would have imploded this evening), so we can be pretty certain that Bruce Wayne is invited. Also on the guest list are the characters played by: Holly Hunter, Tao Okamoto, and Gal Gadot.

Seriously, is there anyone who doesn’t know that Batman V Superman is filming at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum on Michigan State University’s campus this week? You must be living under a rock. Or you don’t have a Twitter account. Apparently dozens of people have seen Ben Affleck on campus already. Everyone can see the movie being filmed from their lecture room. And everyone else is an extra. Take all the above with a large grain of salt.

However, filming will happen. Extras have been chosen from among the thousands who applied. A local salon has been asked to do fancy things to people’s hair, and some extras have been asked to be waiters. So… we are predicting some kind of society party. We are hoping that Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Doomsday, Metallo and Everyone Who’s Anyone in the DC Universe will be there in full costume, outside for us all to see and take selfies with. Are you listening, @ZackSnyder? Pretty please? At least the Bat.. please show us the Bat!

Of course, back in the real world the roads will be closed, barriers will be set up, and we will likely see very little of filming which seems set to take place mostly inside the dramatic, space-age galleries of the Museum. The galleries are currently empty (signs say they are being changed.. uh-huh), and the stage is being set this week for filming to start on Thursday evening and run through Thursday night and Friday night. Signs are being taken off the walls and windows, the Starbucks coffee shop inside the museum has been stripped away, and everything is empty and waiting to be filled with fake exhibits and BATMAN! Is the building Lex Luthor’s home? It would look great with a White Rolls Royce Wraith parked outside. Just saying.

The buzz on campus is huge. It will definitely be a fun week to be in East Lansing. I have to believe that if it’s a high-society party, we at least have to see Bruce Wayne. Fingers crossed.

A few weeks ago a solitary security guard was seen outside one of the abandoned historic mansions in Detroit’s Brush Park — the Ransom-Gillis House. These days security guards often mean MOVIES! so we kept an eye on it. Sure enough, this weekend the Batman V Superman crews moved in for filming in this amazing Detroit neighborhood. Few of the original houses are left from the mid-1800s, most demolished, destroyed by arson, or simply crumbled to the ground. Several of the ones that are still standing have been restored. Believe it or not, the Ransom-Gillis House has been partially restored, but it’s facade still makes a great backdrop for dark, creepy Gotham. Crews have been working on the set for the last couple of weeks, and I’ll post some of those photographs later, but for now everyone wants to see the pictures from filming on Friday night.

As far as we know there were no stars on set last night. According to crew they were not there, but we have long learned to take that with a grain of salt. We do know for certain that Henry Cavill is in town. Amy Adams is in L.A., and Ben Affleck is also away for the premiere of Gone Girl. Who does that leave in town? In any case, no actors were seen — at least before 11 pm, and they were scheduled to film all night, so it’s possible that they snuck in later. We witnessed two ‘scenes’ filming after dark last night. The first consisted of winching a large, caged camera high above the rooftops of the house — finally we discover the purpose of the large scaffolding. The camera swung over the roof, around the newly-‘repaired’ chimney, resting over the chimney and looking down into it, then swinging around to look toward the street. Hmm. Maybe this is the perspective of a certain superhero who is on the roof? Pick your flying superhero!

The rest of the evening was a scene of a Gotham police car screeching down a wet street and coming to a halt outside the house. The police officers exited the car, looked up at the house and shone flashlights at the building. Lather, rinse, repeat. Movie making is such a thrill to watch ;) Between takes the production team discussed and pointed and discussed some more, and then there was another take.

We’re pretty sure filming will continue at the same location on Monday. Maybe the actors will be back in town by then? Watch this space. Actually watch Twitter as it takes me a while to upload here. More pictures to follow of the set up of the Ransom-Gillis House, and some general shots of last week’s filming at the Michigan Central Station.