Bat-fans gather for 'Dark Knight Rises' tour

By James Sanford

Bat-Pod and Tumbler vehicles bring big crowds to Delta Township event

Friday, June 15 — Two of the most celebrated vehicles in movies — the Bat-Pod and Tumbler — arrived in Lansing Friday as part of a promotional tour for “The Dark Knight Rises,” director Christopher Nolan’s final “Batman” film; the movie opens July 20. Hundreds of fans gathered at the Delta Township WalMart Supercenter between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. to take pictures and scoop up posters, temporary tattoos, free samples of Mountain Dew’s Batman-inspired flavor and T-shirts. But Deric Underhill made a slightly longer trip than most: He drove in from Erie, Penn.

The filmmaker, who left home at 5 a.m. Friday, grew up in White Cloud and had planned to be in the Muskegon area this weekend to get his engagement photos shot. When he saw a posting on about the Bat-Pod/Tumbler tour stop, Underhill decided to rework his schedule.

Underhill.jpg Underhill has a couple of personal connections to the “Knight” hoopla. One of his friends is former New York Film Academy classmate Boman Modine, the son of Matthew Modine, who plays Deputy Commissioner Foley in “The Dark Knight Rises.” In addition, Underhill and his fiancee went to Pittsburgh last August to work as extras in a “Dark Knight Rises” scene shot at Heinz Field stadium. In the sequence, arch-criminal Bane (Tom Hardy) blows up the field during a Gotham Rogues football game. The episode is supposed to be taking place during the winter, which meant everyone was costumed in heavy coats and fleeces. It was a two-day shoot, but Underhill said, “My fiancee started to get sick from the heat, so we couldn’t stay for the second day.”

Even so, he is keeping his fingers crossed that he made it into the movie. “When the Bluray comes out, you know I’ll be going through that part frame by frame to see if I can find myself in there,” he said.