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"The Avengers" drawing giggles from Germans
Cleveland's makeup job to look like Stuttgart has some Europeans confused

Kabir Bhatia
This RTA bus bearing Cleveland Clinic ads is on its way to University Circle, and then to Frankfurt
Courtesy of William Burford
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The world will see Cleveland on the silver screen today, made up to look like Stuttgart for the Robert Downey Jr. film, “The Avengers.” But as WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports, the summer action blockbuster is drawing giggles from some German viewers.
"The Avengers" drawing giggles from Germans

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Filming of “The Avengers” -- based on the Marvel comic book -- drew shutterbugs downtown last summer to take photos of the set. About a dozen of those pictures were posted online by WKSU, then picked up by several German bloggers. Since then, eagle-eyed Europeans have had a field day nitpicking the images.

Ulrike Vorhauer grew up in Ulm, a suburb of Stuttgart. She’s now a professor at Kent State who noticed a number of anomalies in the Avengers photos.

“Modern police cars are blue, not green. And Stuttgart is not a city with skyscrapers. It’s not a city like Cleveland. I was upset about missing details, like misspelled street names. There would never be hotel with the name ‘Strasse.’ That’s ‘Hotel Street.’ Maybe Hotel at the Park, but...”

Many of the pictures show clearly Ohio details -- American flags on adjacent buildings, ODOT “Road Closed” signs, and even RTA buses on side streets. But those were only visible on-set; filmmakers no doubt framed their shots around such grossly Cleveland touches. And Vorhauer understands that Hollywood often takes liberties with set design.

“’Good Will Hunting’ plays at MIT, but people who know realize it's not at MIT. This is such a million dollar project, why didn't they hire someone German to look at it?”

Reviewed or not, Vorhauer is still excited her hometowns – both real and adopted – will be splashed across movie-plexes this summer.
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Listener Comments:

Ulm is not a suburb of Stuttgart, it is actually a city about 60 miles east of Stuttgart.

Posted by: Adri (Munich) on May 26, 2012 11:05AM
My family is still in Stuttgart, and the completed "Stuttgart" scenes really drew giggles from us.
Königstrasse is mostly a shopping street, while Königstrasse 22 (supposed to be a place for a grand reception) is actually a shopping arcade. In the background of the big square, you can see elevated trains and skyscrapers, both of which do not exist in Stuttgart. There are no buildings higher than half a dozen floors in the vicinity.
German license numbers (the general type as well as the police type) always end with a series of numbers, without letters.

Posted by: Marvin Arnold (Hamburg) on May 23, 2012 1:05AM
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