'Batman' sequel moving production overseas

Warner Bros. has applied for local permits to shoot a portion of Batman sequel “The Dark Knight” in Hong Kong this fall.

In director Christopher Nolan’s follow-up to “Batman Begins,” the caped crusader will leave Gotham for the first time in the history of the film franchise to fight evil in another city — or cities — although it’s unclear whether Hong Kong will be called Hong Kong or a fictional metropolis.

As it stands, the Warner Bros. project is hoping to touch down in the former British colony for a skedded nine days of shooting in November.

Warners wouldn’t confirm the reports. Pic, whose plotline is being kept under tight wraps, also is lensing in Chicago and London.

“Dark Knight” returns Christian Bale to the bigscreen as Batman. Heath Ledger and Michael Caine also star.

Hong Kong production services companies have been abuzz for months with talk of what may be the highest profile foreign shoot for several years.

Warner has apparently applied for permits to shoot in the glossy business district of Central and neighboring Western. And one sequence could include the nightly Symphony of Lights laser show, a key tourist trademark for the city.

Local politicos have suggested that helicopters and night shooting could cause traffic chaos and noise pollution.

“We welcome the movie but want to ensure arrangements are hassle free,” said Kwok Ka-ki, a local legislator.

It is not clear whether the Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures production will make use of the new Shaw Studios. State-of-the-art facility has lain unused for best part of the two years since its skedded completion, though it has recently been home to some commercials, including one shot by Ridley Scott’s RSA, and is hosting Josh Hartnett-starring movie “I Come With the Rain” by helmer Tran Anh Hung.

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