Erin and Dominic Giambelluca traded the Pittsburgh Steelers for the “Gotham Rogues” Saturday as they cheered on the doomed football team among explosions and Hollywood’s elite.
The Regent Square couple immediately signed up to be extras in the upcoming film, Chris Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, starring Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Tom Hardy and a slew of other stars after seeing a notice on Twitter.
“I love and my husband does too, and it’s a once in a lifetime kind of thing,” Erin said. “I just wanted to see what it was like to shoot a movie and be there for it.”
She said the day started with traffic only Batman can bring. The couple arrived an hour late because of the parkway snarls downtown, but took a shuttle to Heinz Field and made it before filming began.
“When we arrived, we got food vouchers, raffle tickets and a goodie bag with sunblock, snacks and water,” she said. “They started filming around 9 a.m. and then the Steelers came out and that was pretty cool.”
Then, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl came out on the field and kicked for the team opposing the Gotham Rogues to Hines Ward.
“They did a play and they did that five or six times,” Erin said.
There were about 15,000 people at Heinz Field for the filming, with most waving yellow towels all without the official Terrible Towel logo.
After a rain delay, the filming moved onto special effects scenes.
While the rain cooled off the crowd for a bit, dealing with the heat in winter attire was not their favorite aspect of the day.
“That was the worst part because we couldn’t wear shorts,” she said. “I had a sweatshirt and my husband had a winter jacket. The heat was pretty bad. They gave us lots of water.”
The local couple spent its 10-hour day at the 40-yard line.
“Right after the football scene ended, they did one explosion,” she said. “It looked like pieces of grass all over the field to make it look like it was blown up while the players were on it, and we had to wear ear plugs for that. We had to rehearse and make sure we weren’t smiling during that part.”
Near the end of the day, Tom Hardy, who plays the villain character “Bane,” came out onto the field, rehearsed a speech and repeated the scene several times.
“A little disappointed that Batman wasn’t there, but hey, that’s OK,” she said. “Tom Hardy was there and that was still pretty cool.”
Extras also were treated to a raffle, with one person going home with a new car, while others received tickets to the movie premiere next summer. Raffle winners also took home a variety of Apple products.
While the day was a long one, Giambelluca said it’s all about the experience.
“I know I will never get to do that again and it was amazing to be a part of that and see Chris Nolan directing on the field,” she said. “When we see the movie, we can say, ‘Hey, we were there for that.’ It was definitely worth sitting in the heat for 10 hours.”