By Nicole Hennessy
“That is Batman,” Kyle Harriger thought, swimming in a crowd of fellow mercenaries, drenched in sweat that seeped through winter clothing on a hot day last August.
After successfully answering a casting call in Pittsburgh, Harriger, an extra in “The Dark Knight Rises,” acted out scenes again and again, remembering his 10-year-old self running around in Batman costumes, fighting imaginary crime as Christian Bale made his way through the set.
Taking a break from his job at the Westlake Recreation Center Thursday, the day of the film’s release, he explained his role as being “a henchman for the main villain. A hired gun, so to say.”
For things like fake fight training and costume fittings, and for the taping, he would have to leave his house at 2 a.m. to arrive in Pittsburgh in time for work.
“I was there for four days in total,” he said.
In four scenes, his friends and family can try to identify him, celebrating with smiles and likely shouting something like, “There he is!” when they do.
Harriger says his occupation as a personal trainer helped him get through grueling fight scenes shot as many as 60 times.
The movie takes place in winter, but filming was done in August. Fake snow would from the sky as the sun shone down, mocking the actors’ thick scarves and long-sleeved shirts.
“But OK, this is for the Batman movie,” Harriger reminded himself, pushing through the heat.
Planning to attend the midnight showing with his family, he says he has a few theories about what will happen at the end of the movie, the last in a trilogy, but there’s no way to know for sure.
The franchise has transformed into something unrecognizable since the 1960s, when Adam West played Batman in TV cliffhangers.
Of villains past, Harriger said Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the Joker in 1989 was one of his favorites.
“I’ve always loved that character,” he said.
Heading back to work for the day, Harriger is looking forward to seeing flashes of his face on the big screen later, and the next day, as well, with his friends.
He says he’d go to the premiere either way, but being this connected to a superhero he’s always loved makes it that much more special.