Deleted Batman scene unrelated to pollution

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HONG KONG -- Christopher Nolan, director of upcoming Batman film "The Dark Knight," denied rumors at a Friday press conference of deleting a scene of Batman jumping into the Victoria Harbor because of the polluted water, before kicking off filming in Hong Kong.

Nolan, whose previous "Batman Begins" reinvigorated the franchise, said it was his decision to delete the scene and it had nothing to do with the pollution.

"It was purely changes made to the script," said Nolan, who is in the Special Administrative Region of China for the second time.

Hong Kong was chosen as the location for Batman's caped crusades outside of Gotham City for the first time. It was only the second city to be filmed as a real location, with Chicago and London mocked-up for Gotham.

"When we were looking for a sequel, we hoped for something more expansive. It'd be interesting to put an iconic American character somewhere else, and Hong Kong is a very energetic cosmopolitan city," Nolan said.

Nolan, together with other crew members including Christian Bale, who reprises the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne from the "Batman Begins," and Morgan Freeman, who plays Lucius Fox, greeted the Hong Kong media shortly before beginning the location shoot in Hong Kong's Central district.

Friday's afternoon shoot consisted of scenes shot on Hong Kong's famous midlevel escalators -- a set of outdoor escalators connecting one of Hong Kong's main residential areas with its central business district.

Wong Kar Wai's "Chungking Express" was filmed at the same location. Hundreds of pedestrians lined the streets to watching the shoot, and over 200 local extras were hired for the day's scenes.

The shooting of "The Dark Knight" has been receiving a warm welcome and support from the SAR government. It was the first time the government of the former British Colony allowed two helicopters and one airplane to make low passes in order to catch the scenery of Hong Kong's famed Victoria Harbor.
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