Filming is going on right now in Detroit for the upcoming blockbuster movie, Batman vs Superman Dawn of Justice. But before filming started, a phony, exploding chimney was created with the magic of Hollywood.
Henry Cavill returns as Superman and the unassuming reporter, Clark Kent. His main squeeze, Lois Lane, will be played by Amy Adams. We’ll see Ben Affleck as Batman (and Bruce Wayne) in a new $100,000 BatSuit. Wonder Woman (Gal Godot) and Aquaman also appear. The villain is Lex Luthor, Superman’s hyper-intelligent arch enemy, played by Jesse Eisenberg.
Much of the action takes place in and around the Ransom Gillis House, an historic home in the Brush Park neighborhood of Detroit. Ransom Gillis was a very successful dry goods merchant who had this Venetian Gothic home built between 1876 and 1878. Gillis sold the home in 1880 and a succession of four wealthy families owned it until 1919. Converted to a rooming house, as so many Brush Park homes were, the house lasted until about 1960 before significant deterioration occurred.
Here’s how the old home looked soon after it was built:
This photo below shows the home at its worst. Its second chimney, striking turret and roof are in ruins.
The Ransom Gillis House in February 2005, Copyright © John Kossik
After several failed renovation attempts between 1970 and about 2005, the City of Detroit placed the home in its “Mothball” program to protect it until, hopefully, a developer would take an interest in restoring it.
So at last someone will make use of this magnificent old home. It will be immortalized in a blockbuster Batman vs Superman movie. Here’s how the Ransom Gillis House looked before the film crew started work:
Construction of the Phony Chimney for Batman vs Superman Movie
But wait! The house is missing one of its two chimneys! That will have to be fixed before the house is featured in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. We already know that several owners have tried to restore the home and have failed. Restoring the home for the movie would cost way more than the budget for the movie would allow. So that’s where Hollywood creativity takes over.
The Warner Brothers’ film crew is building a phony chimney to replace the one that fell down. They are also making breakaway panels of faux brick that will “explode” during the movie.
Here’s the phony chimney under construction:
Phony chimney construction for Batman vs Superman – Photo by Tim Malin
The wooden frame on the side of the house will be covered in panels of faux brick to create the chimney.
Phony Batman vs Superman chimney is readied. Instagram photo by Diane Weiss
At the lower center of the photo above, you can see the façade that looks just like the remaining real chimney. It will soon be hoisted into place by a crane that is standing by.
For at least the duration of the of the filming of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, this grand old lady is still alive. Be sure to look for the scenes in the movie that feature this phony chimney.