FILMING for a Hollywood blockbuster starring the Caped Crusader is set to make a flying visit to the strath next month.
Footage for the new ‘Batman’ movie, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, is scheduled to be shot at Feshie Bridge around July 19 to 20.
And it has even emerged that film bosses were keen to close part of the A9 road at some point for an hour or two to land a large aircraft as part of the action.
A source said: “I understand that the producers actually wanted to close the road somewhere between Perth and Inverness so that they could land a plane.
“They wanted the A9, and asked if it could be closed to traffic, as they were looking to land a significant-sized aircraft.
“They were told absolutely ‘no’ by the authorities as far as the A9 was concerned, so I gather they are looking for another road somewhere else in the Highlands to film.
“I do not think that those connected with the movie actually realised that the A9 is the Highlands’ arterial road and that any such request was out of the question.”
The all-star cast for the new ‘Batman’ film includes Anne Hathaway, Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine.
Feshie Bridge is most famous for the early 19th Century bridge which crosses the river of the same name at a point where rocky outcrops force the Feshie to race through a narrow channel. It is a popular spot with daredevils who jump into the plunge pool some 30 feet below.
The project is being filmed in the area under the name ‘Magnus Rex’ – the working title for the next Batman movie.
The source said: “There is something really exciting due to be happening in the Feshie Bridge area in the middle of next month, although it may cause some disruption for a day or two in the vicinity.”
The ‘Strathy’ contacted Northern Constabulary about possible road closures – the B970 crosses the Feshie Bridge.
A force spokesman said: “We have been approached by a film company to link in with potential road closures for some filming in the area, but we cannot comment beyond that.”
Further filming for the movie is due to take place at Inverness Airport next month.
Mr Inglis Lyon, managing director of Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, said: “I can confirm we have entered into a contract with a film production company. It is a relatively short contract which will earn the airport some money. I cannot say any more than that.”
It is believed that the film crew are using the airport to shoot various aerial scenes.
In March, the production team set up shop in London to shoot scenes depicting Gotham City Police Station.
Christian Bale will reprise his role as Batman, while Sir Michael Caine is expected again to play Alfred the butler.
Anne Hathaway has been cast as Catwoman for the movie, which will be released next year.
Mr Scott Armstong, regional director of VisitScotland, said hit movies were a surefire winner for the region.
He said: “We are unaware of any particular filming at Feshie Bridge, but we do know that film tourism is hugely important in terms of raising the profile of a country to other audiences.
“Feshie Bridge is one of the most stunning parts of the Cairngorms National Park, and would provide a wonderful backdrop which will generate a positive impression of the area to movie-goers.
“Films often garner the kind of publicity that money can’t buy. Research has shown that one in five overseas visitors are inspired by images they have seen in films and on TV.”
The strath is no stranger to being used for movies, although this would be the biggest to date. Glenfeshie Lodge was used in the recent hit movie, ‘The Queen’, starring Helen Mirren, as well as the ‘swords and sandals’ thriller, ‘Centurion’, while Ardverikie House, by Laggan, has been used for several films including ‘Mrs Brown’ and ‘The Missionary’, and was also home to the popular BBC comedy drama, ‘Monarch of the Glen’, which ran from 2000 to 2005.
‘The Dark Knight Rises’, directed by Christopher Nolan, has been filmed all over the world, including Jodhpur in India and New York and Pittsburgh, USA.
Working titles are generally used to disguise the production of a high-profile film. The working title of ‘Batman Begins’ was ‘The Intimidation Game’, while ‘The Dark Knight’ was referred to as ‘Rory’s First Kiss’.