On an empty pale-green set, Nick Manning, in skintight rubber Batman regalia, strikes a superhero pose, one hand raised, his face stony behind the batmask. A deafening industrial fan billows his cape dramatically behind him, as four high-definition cameras capture his every move.
The actor is shooting special effects for Bat Fucks: Dark Night, an ultra-big-budget blockbuster from Bluebird Films.
Today’s greenscreen footage will be turned over to Bluebird’s team of digital compositors (the studio does its own CGI work). When they get through, Batman will be perched atop a skyscraper, glaring down at the glittering steel canyons of Gotham.
Director Nicholas Steele sits behind a monitor and gives directions. As Bluebird’s CEO, busy running the company, he hasn’t directed a movie for almost four years. He’s relishing being on a set again, at the helm of a major production.
On the schedule today is SFX work—including wire work—with four of the principal actors: Manning as Batman; Krissy Lynn as his gender-changed sidekick Robina; Paul Chaplin—Bluebird’s owner—as the Joker; and U.S. contract girl Madelyn Marie as Catwoman.
Unlike Vivid’s Batman parody, which takes off on the campy ’60s television series, Bat Fucks references the more recent Caped Crusader flicks, specifically The Dark Knight. That means there’s a great deal of action and visual razzmatazz, and Bluebird means to make it worthy of the original.
About half of the movie has already been shot. Pre-production began in November; shooting started in January. A two-continent company, Bluebird is home-based in England, with studios there and in Prague in addition to its 50,000 square feet in Van Nuys. Some scenes were shot in London, including one of four orgies. (The cast totals 54 actors.)
On his iPad, Steele displays the movie’s trailer. It features some of the work done so far, and it’s stunning, visually on a par with the mainstream.
Lynn, blond and big-breasted, is in costume (skintight yellow rubber) and awaiting her turn in the green. Unlike Manning, she’ll be up on wires.
She’s been through a lot already, she says, including hand-to-hand combat with the Joker. “I’m beating myself up for this movie. Lotsa bruises. But I’m having fun.”
In this scene she’s supposed to crash down through a glass roof, landing in a crowd of people.
“Have you ever done this?” Steele asks her.
“No.” But from the way she takes to the wires, you’d never know it.
The wireman says he’ll give her soft landings “till she gets used to it.”
“Take her up,” Steele commands. “3-2-1-go!” Suspended in mid-air, she throws her arms out dramatically. When she hits the ground, it’s in a menacing, ready-to-kick-ass crouch. This lady doesn’t need special treatment.
“You’re awesome, girl!” Steele exclaims delightedly.
After Krissy comes Paul Chaplin, climbing a swinging rope ladder (it’ll be dangling from a helicopter after CGI work) with the aplomb of a professional stuntman.
Madelyn Marie’s green-world stint won’t come until a bit later. Right now she’s relaxing in the makeup room before donning her catsuit. Her act will include wire-assisted flying cartwheels and a jump landing in the cat position. The action stuff is new for her, but she’s into it. “I’m a tomboy. I like to do interesting things.”
She was signed by the company a few months ago and couldn’t be happier. “What’s not to like about Bluebird? From their budgets to the way the treat me as a contract girl—they’ve got their shit together.”
Bat Fucks: Dark Night will be released in all platforms, worldwide, in September.
This article originally ran in the June 2010 issue of AVN.