Forget Kanye West and Penn Badgley — it looks like Occupy Wall Street might get a visit from an even more high-profile entity. According to casting notices released by the producers, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises will soon arrive in New York City for a two-week stay. (The film is currently shooting in L.A. and was previously in Pittsburgh.) And, if the source who spoke to the Los Angeles Times is correct, actors have been briefed about the possibility of shooting scenes at the site of the protest.
Presumably this means Zuccotti Park, the spot where activists have camped out since September 17, though the source wasn't specific. How would OWS fit into the current Batman movie, exactly?
While the person who’d been told of the plans said the protests could figure into the production, they said that doesn't mean they will be included in the storyline.
In other words, Nolan, who's known for carefully planning out scenes months in advance, wouldn’t necessarily be tweaking the script; he’d simply be using the protests as a backdrop or a stand-in for something that already exists in the film.
Honestly? If this is actually happening — which is a big if — it makes me uncomfortable. Because what I find myself asking is, who does this benefit? Certainly not the movement taking shape in Lower Manhattan; they haven't exactly lacked media attention of late and I think any increased attention will be more focused on the production than the cause. There's certainly a benefit, though, if you're a studio that doesn't have to spend extra money to get a "real" and "gritty" and "organic" backdrop of civil unrest, unrest which in the movie is probably caused by some deranged psycho.
But the unrest in the park is real. You might disagree with them, you might think they're ineffective, but these are actual people who have actual fear and anger about our economic situation, the interaction of massively wealthy corporations and government, and the seeming get-out-of-jail-free card those who are most responsible for our on-going recession received. And all that becomes… what? Nifty scenery for a film that has a budget that is literally larger than the GDP of some island nations? I think it's gross, frankly. It's using a Sex Pistols song to sell butter, or Hot Topic turning actual alternative styles into corporate profits. It's the sort of thing that makes you want to shower; maybe Christian Bale will be willing to share the one in his trailer?