CARY — They didn’t get to see much, but they had a nice time.
About 40 people gathered outside the Epic Games office building on Crossroads Boulevard in Cary on Tuesday, where “Iron Man 3” was filming for a second day.
A majority of the blockbuster sequel is being filmed around Wilmington, with some filming also taking place in Miami and China.
The folks stationed on the shady Cary sidewalk – about 80 yards from production trucks, stacks of small potted palm trees and tarp-covered props – were hoping to catch a glimpse of a movie star. Or even the spouse of a movie star.
Matthew Moyer, an Army mechanic and Iraq war veteran, drove to Cary from Fayetteville on Tuesday morning to watch filming and maybe even sneak his résumé to someone on set. Moyer is pretty sure he saw “Iron Man” star Robert Downey Jr.’s wife get out of a black SUV earlier in the day and push a stroller with a baby toward the building.
But he can’t be sure.
Stephen Branson of Raleigh thought he got a pretty clear shot of Downey taken with a zoom lens. But most likely, Branson concedes after studying the photograph, it’s the actor’s body double.
The lack of Hollywood thrills didn’t dampen the mood of the onlookers, many of whom were also on hand for filming Monday, where they made friends that they met up with again Tuesday.
Alison Morshed of Apex brought her daughter Tori and Tori’s friend Monica Jones to stake out the set Monday. They hung out with Branson and Keri Newsome of Cary both days, making camp on the sidewalk with chairs, cameras and snacks.
“We’ve all bonded,” Alison Morshed said. “I’ve enjoyed watching how things are done, and it’s good to bring this kind of money to the state.”
Gov. Bev Perdue’s office has said they expect the film to generate more than $80 million for North Carolina and create hundreds of jobs.
Though everyone seems to know the movie is “Iron Man 3,” officials have been hush-hush. A casting call for the film held in April in Raleigh used the production title “Caged Heat.” A traffic alert from Cary refers only to road closures “to accommodate activity registered with the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film, and Sports Development.”
Gwyneth Paltrow, who has played Downey’s love interest in the previous movies, tweeted Tuesday evening that she had arrived in Raleigh for filming and was looking for restaurant recommendations.
What about ‘Bob’?
The sidewalk fans entertained themselves with frequent but ultimately unrevealing conversations with a man sent out periodically to “control” them. No one knew his name, but they all decided to call him “Bob.”
And “Bob” will tell you nothing.
“He was trying to convince us it’s a toothpaste commercial for cats,” Branson said.
“Bob” also tried to tell the stubborn fans that Downey isn’t even there. They weren’t buying that either.
“Bob” wouldn’t take Moyer’s résumé, but instead tried to steer him to other careers, such as joining the Army. Moyer, who has been in the Army for nine years already, is out in a month. His only acting experience has been as an extra on “Erin Brockovich,” a 2000 film starring Julia Roberts. Moyer could maybe look into set security, “Bob” suggested, adding that it’s not as fun as it may look.
Moyer says he’s been a huge “Iron Man” fan since he saw a bootleg copy of the first film in Iraq. Downey also played the character – a billionaire engineer whose iron suit turns him into a superhero – in 2010’s “Iron Man 2.” And Downey/“Iron Man” is a big part of this summer’s smash “The Avengers,” which unites the Marvel Comics creation with other comic book heroes such as Captain America, Hulk and Thor.
Christmas in June
Moyer passed time on the sidewalk Tuesday with Jason Walker, a freelance game developer from Raleigh, and Sharon Zolnowsky, who lives across the street from the excitement.
Walker had only really seen people moving palm trees around outside.
“So far, the main attraction has been the Christmas tree,” Walker said of a giant tree decorated with big orange balls that was set up outside Epic Games for the filming.
The lack of hard facts about what was happening on set didn’t keep fans from speculating. Buzz was that the Epic Games set would be Miami in the movie (fans report to have seen a motorcycle with “Miami Police Department” on the side) and that the giant office building might be the headquarters for the movie’s bad guys. A large sign outside the building had been covered with a tarp Tuesday, but Walker said a photo had been leaked online showing the name “AIM” on the sign. “AIM” likely stands for Advanced Idea Mechanics, the name of an organized group of fictional international science-terrorists in the Marvel Comics world.
Branson said the crew filmed a scene outside the building Monday, but they put up screens and used giant umbrellas to block everyone’s view.
Branson said he tried out to be an extra at the casting call at Crabtree Valley Mall in April, but he didn’t get picked. But he still feels like he has a connection to the movie.
“When the movie comes out and I see that Christmas tree, I can say I was there that day.”