turkish2The link between Turkish Airlines and Batman v Superman was announced in January, but wasn’t news to those of us who were paying attention during filming.  There were rumors about Turkish airlines having some connection to the movie toward the end of the filming in Detroit, when people reported scenes being filmed at Detroit Metro Airport. The scoop then was that it probably involved Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and now in the latest trailer we have the proof: Wonder Woman herself (as Diana Prince) boarding a Turkish Airlines airplane.


However back in July, 2015, almost a year after the Batman v Superman machine left Michigan, Twitter came alive with rumors that the production crew were back in downtown Detroit filming again. Maybe some reshoots? Of course I headed down to see what was going on, to find a relatively small crew in place outside the Penobscot Building, downtown. Although there was some impressive equipment, and vehicles that were clearly from Batman v Superman, the set up seemed too small to be part of the movie itself. Local crew downplayed the movie connection a little at first, saying it was a shoot for a commercial. Also we knew that at the time the entire cast of the movie were at San Diego Comic Con and so unlikely to be involved. Further interrogation revealed that it was a commercial for… you guessed it, Turkish Airlines. Aha.

Closer examination of the crew also revealed the presence of none other than Larry Fong, Director of Photography for Batman v Superman. Unfortunately Larry is not my biggest fan. I think he may be the only person ever to block me on Twitter after I posted some pictures in the early days of filming in Detroit. Sorry, Larry! However, in addition to his phenomenal contribution to the big blockbuster movies (Watchmen, Man of Steel and many others), he’s also worked on some amazing commercials. The most notable in this context is the amazing Hardee’s commercial that released with Man of Steel (2013).

We’re therefore expecting great things from this Turkish Airlines-Batman v Superman tie-in. Of course I got some shots of the filming. Handsome guy leaves building, apparently holding onto something? Imaginary dog leash maybe? Waits for cab. Catches cab. Pretty sure we’ll soon find out. The commercial also filmed scenes in Chicago. We’re looking forward to the reveal which should be pretty soon.


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The scenes we saw in the trailer from this location were all filmed at night in a location that isn’t the best to hang out in alone after dark. Just a stone’s throw from Tiger Stadium, but some of the alleyways I lurked in were a little hairy. Still nothing to match the filming locations of Ryan Gosling’s Lost River, and I survived that. Crews had been setting up at the Ransom Gillis House in Detroit’s Brush Park for weeks ahead of filming and at first it looked as though the house was being restored, before it became obvious that the chimney they were ‘fixing’ wasn’t exactly up to code. The ‘bricks’ literally melted in the rain after filming. There was a lot of speculation around this set, partly because of the old boats set up in the yard of the house. The first tip off we had that this house would be used for Batman V Superman was the appearance of the old boats, which we are still a little confused about. There were also dozens of them at the Russell Industrial Center set, and I have yet to see a good explanation of why there are so many boats in this movie! In the trailer we’ve seen a flood and Superman rescuing people from roofs and we know there’s an Aquaman cameo, but as far as I know there still isn’t a current theory on the boats.

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The scene most caught on cell phones by Brush Park’s local residents was the Gotham PD car screeching up to the house. That’s pretty much all we could see going on here. Clearly something was going on in the house. Gotham PD were coming to check it out. Another scene showed the two Gotham officers getting out of the car and looking up at the house.

The trailer added two other scenes that look to be related to this set. 1. Someone is tied up in the house, and that someone has a bat-shaped brand on his shoulder. The suggestion is that Batman is punishing bad guys in a revenge spree.
Fullscreen capture 7122015 33539 PM.bmp2. The other scene from the trailer that was impossible to screen cap was bats coming down the chimney. I’m assuming that this scene was part of the story here, based on the positioning of the camera that we saw. When I watched the filming I thought that the camera was maybe to give the point of view of a hovering/flying superhero, but perhaps it was this instead.

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Other rumors on set were that a ‘Big Bad’ was in the house. I’m not convinced of this. Some said this was Wayne Manor, which I’m 100% certain is not the case.  Most likely this is a run-down hide-out/HQ for one of Gotham’s minor crooks, possibly the guy we see tied up and branded. Several ‘henchman-types’ were also on set, in a kind of uniform with caps and black T-shirts. So far I haven’t seen any speculation around this and it may be something we don’t find out about until March 2016.

Finally in the trailer we see the protests against Superman that we suspected were part of the plot of Batman V Superman. The Tims (Reinman @treinman and Malin @D3T0N8R) had taken some shots of this being filmed in Gabriel Richard Park on E. Jefferson in downtown Detroit near the bridge to Belle Isle. In the movie, Superman is added to the scene and the rather unimposing government building at the edge of the park became the steps of the Capitol. You can see some of the same signs as in the trailer, and if you look carefully the set pics show a burning effigy/costume of Superman at the protestors’ feet. 

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Battle at LexCorp

Posted: July 17, 2015 in Batman V Superman
Tags: ,

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How excited were we when someone first spotted what looked like the LexCorp logo appear on the old GM building on Centerpoint Parkway, right opposite the Michigan Motion Picture Studios in Pontiac? Pretty excited. We know they filmed inside the building for several days, with rumors of a ‘Google-like’ atmosphere, basketball courts and a Lex Luthor who definitely had hair. Following the day shoots, at least one night shoot took place with a lot of sirens, shooting and fire. We’ve now seen a glimpse of this in the trailer.


And I captured the aftermath of the destruction the following day.


That School Bus?

Posted: July 15, 2015 in Batman V Superman
Tags: ,

I did upload some pictures to my twitter account that never made it to my blog. Here are two, taken at the lot in Pontiac last Summer. A school bus and an old pink minivan. I’m guessing the minivan is circa 1980s? The bus looks to have seen better days. It has a lot of damage and vegetation inside it. Obviously this brings back memories of a certain bus crash. Could it have been submerged all those years? Flashback?

I took these pictures about the same time as we were fixated on the scenes being filmed at the Ransom Gillis House in downtown Detroit. On at least one of those days there were two production units operating: one downtown and the other at Belle Isle. My regret is that I stayed watching the house and didn’t find out what was happening at Belle Isle. I suspect this van was part of that scene.

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We suspected that we might see some flashbacks to the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents, but the movie seems to set aside quite a lot of time to the event. Scenes of the actual murder were filmed in Chicago, but the funeral at least was filmed in Orion Oaks County Park, north of the Pontiac Studios in Michigan. This park was also the site of the ruined Wayne Manor, but that will have to wait for another post. Orion Oaks is a beautiful park, not crowded, but people are there walking their dogs and biking the trails all the time. Somehow the production managed to build 2 pretty substantial structures in the park that didn’t come to light until just before they actually filmed the scenes, a few days apart.

The mausoleum was relatively easy to find thanks to a helpful production sign with an arrow, but honestly the structure was so detailed and blended in so well, that unless you stopped to wonder why such a thing was in the middle of a public park, most people would just assume it had been there for decades! Plenty of people were able to walk right by it and take photographs, especially once filming had finished, and I wandered by there a few times to get some good shots. Security presence was fortunately pretty low key due to the remoteness of the location, but on the actual filming days every path was blocked. My pictures were released exclusively on BatmanNews.com. Here are a few more. I wish I could have got closer to the gravestones, but the right angle was hard to get under the eye of security. Other people did better and those close-up pics are out there.

The same day that filming was taking place in the park we also saw old cars, including a hearse in the lot, and extras dressed in 1980’s mourning wear. Trailers revealed that Alfred might be on set, and it wasn’t too hard to deduce that the scene filmed in the park was the Wayne’s funeral.

This post wouldn’t be complete without a shout-out to two of my partners-in-crime. @RyanAMetzger was the first to see those tell-take CCP signs and give us a heads up on filming in the park. Then he and his courageous kids explored the park with me way too late one night, risking life and limb from bow hunters! Guess we should have checked about the hunting thing before we went skulking through the long grass! And of course the amazing and brave @eviejeevie who ventured off the beaten path to find out what was going on. I wish I’d saved the texts she sent me that day, but perhaps its her story to tell! Thanks for your help, guys! 

So much to say about the latest Batman V Superman trailer released at Comic Con this weekend… so many scenes from the movie revealed and so much awesomeness. It’s painful to think that the movie is still so many months away from theaters, but the excitement is definitely building. I’m guessing, however, that I viewed both of the trailers we’ve seen so far in a very different way to almost anyone else. I couldn’t look at a single scene without trying to work out where it was filmed, and whether I’d managed to catch a small glimpse of it happening.

The strange half houses were spotted on the Pontiac sound stages early on during filming, and someone even reported seeing the Superman symbol painted on the top of one of them. That was hastily covered up by a tarp, but ideas soon emerged as to what they were for and it looks as though one was right! A flood. People climbing onto their roofs to escape the rising waters and be rescued by Superman. We have no idea of course what caused the flood, who the people are, and whether they are rescued. (which is one reason why I honestly believe that most set photos aren’t really spoilers at all, but you’re allowed to disagree with my opinion.)

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My day job permitting, I’m going to look through the trailers many times to pick out the scenes that correspond to sets that we saw over the last 18 months, and post them here. I also have some previously unpublished pics that I’ll put into a post or two. And on a day when I can face it without getting too angry, I’ll post on the recent demise of the Michigan Movie incentives, and what that means for the future of the industry in Michigan (spoiler: it’s almost dead).



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 V 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.