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In Marshfield, a summer of movie magic

Near the set of “The Way, Way Back” in Marshfield, young fans with actor Steve Carell; at right, actress AnnaSophia Robb with Sam Hay, 11, of Marshfield. Near the set of “The Way, Way Back” in Marshfield, young fans with actor Steve Carell; at right, actress AnnaSophia Robb with Sam Hay, 11, of Marshfield. (Sean O’Sullivan (above); Kristen Hay (right))
By Emily Sweeney
Globe Staff / July 26, 2012
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Day after day, a gaggle of teenagers wearing bikinis and swim trunks have strategically stationed themselves on Marshfield’s Bay Avenue in the hopes of catching a glimpse — or better yet, an iPhone snapshot — of Steve Carell, Rob Corddry, AnnaSophia Robb, or any of this season’s star-quality visitors.

The actors are appearing in “The Way, Way Back,” a movie being shot in various South Shore locations. Local fans and curiosity-seekers don’t have much time left for gawking, however; filming is scheduled to wrap up Friday.

If all goes according to plan, the production crew will then pack up its trucks and trailers, the tripods and cameras will disappear from the grassy green lawns, and life in the seaside village of Green Harbor will return to normal.

While they’ve been here, the cast and crew have generated a lot of buzz on the South Shore while causing minimal disruption, according to neighbors.

“They’ve gone out of their way not to inconvenience anybody,” said Robert W. Lally, who gave the film producers permission to use his house 156 Bay Ave.

“It’s exciting,” said Lally. “It’s all good.”

The filmmakers are also happy with how the production has gone, and are pleased that the public doesn’t seem to mind having so many stars in their backyard.

“People are curious and interested, but at the same time, taking it in stride and nonchalant about it,” said Scott Levine, the unit publicist for the production. “Most people who walk by [the set] are on their way to he beach.”

The movie is a coming-of-age story about a boy on vacation with his mother and her boyfriend. Filming has been taking place in Marshfield since mid-July. Scenes were also shot at Water Wizz in Wareham, the Powder Point Bridge in Duxbury, and on the beach at Green Harbor. Driving scenes were shot in Pembroke.

It is no wonder location scouts chose to film in Green Harbor. With its beautiful beachfront homes and white picket fences decorated with patriotic bunting, it is postcard New England at its summertime best.

Much of the recent film activity in Marshfield has been centered on two beachfront homes on Bay Avenue. Following the old New England tradition of naming summer cottages, each was given a special name for the film: One house was dubbed “Riptide” (the set design crew placed a “Riptide” sign, shaped as a silhouette of a shark, near the entrance) and the house next door was christened “Booze Cruisin’,” and had a martini glass on its sign.

The all-star cast has made a splash in town, especially among the youths. Groups of local teenagers and beachgoers have been congregating across the street from the two homes, watching the behind-the-scenes action on the set and calling out the names of celebrities.

Sean O’Sullivan, 14, lucked out last week around 11:30 a.m., when he spotted Carell walking outside the set. He said he called out “Steve” and the actor stopped to pose for a few photos.

“He was very nice,” said O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan posed in a photo with Carell, and so did his younger sister, Gwyn, and her friends.

On another recent July afternoon, a Kingston police officer stopped and redirected a handful of cars that were approaching Bay Avenue.

Daniel Noons, 11, a self-described “wannabe actor” who lives on Bay Avenue, offered to help the officer direct traffic. Noons, who had hoped to land a part in the movie, was surprised by the low-key and low-profile appearance of the movie set on his street.

“I always thought movie sets would be more . . . Hollywoody,” said Noons.

Dozens of local actors — or “extras” — wearing summer beach wear, approved by the wardrobe department, milled around one front yard waiting to be called to appear in the background of a Fourth of July party scene. Meanwhile, two golf carts zipped back and forth, shuttling down Bay Avenue between the set and the trailers stocked with wardrobe and makeup supplies.

About 125 people — cast, crew, and extras — have been working on the movie.

One of the lucky ones was Captain Phillip A. Tavares of the Marshfield Police Department. He landed a role in the film and appears in a party scene with Allison Janney (of “The West Wing”) and some of the other leading cast members.

“It’s been fantastic,” said Tavares.

The Marshfield Police Department has received “virtually no complaints,” about the film production, and the producers and film crew “haven’t caused any problems at all,” said Tavares.

They’ve been a “wonderful group of people to work with,” he said.

Many members of the cast and crew have ties to Massachusetts.

Carell — known for his roles in “The Office” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” — is an Acton native who spends summers in Marshfield and has been the talk of the town since 2009, when he purchased and restored the Marshfield Hills General Store, a beloved landmark on Prospect Street. The store is operated by Carell’s sister-in-law, Tish Vivado.

Corddry hails from Weymouth, while director Nat Faxon’s family is from the North Shore and his mother-in-law lives in Dedham.

Earlier this month, Faxon told The Globe how much he loves Water Wizz.

“It rocks,” said Faxon. “It’s kind of mind-blowing, actually.”

Chris White, president of the Marshfield Chamber of Commerce, said the production has been a boon to Marshfield and its 25,132 residents.

“I think overall, the experience of having this in town has been good for business and has been good for the town,” said White. “It certainly has created a lot of buzz and drawn attention to Marshfield.”

White said Carell has been “endearing” and very generous with his time.

Earlier this month, Carell stopped by Marshfield Famous Pizza, and “before you knew it, there were pictures taken up on Facebook and it was going all around town,” said White.

Cast and crew have also stopped by Haddad’s Ocean Cafe and Mamma Mia’s, two restaurants off Route 139.

At 40 Marginal St., a five-minute walk from the movie set, crew members have been stopping in at the Green Harbor General Store from time to time to get sandwiches.

“They’ve come in here with walkie-talkies, getting subs,” said Hannah Buckley, a Duxbury resident who is the store’s assistant manager.

The store manager, Linda Francis, said she didn’t think business had been affected much by the filming of the movie. Summers are always busy in Marshfield.

“In the wintertime, we know everybody,” she said with a smile. “In the summertime, we don’t know who’s walking through the door.”

Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.

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