The site of the 1919 film "Anne of Green Gables," Dedham once more stepped into the spotlight as a movie location.
Crews descended on the town to shoot scenes for the "The Judge" on Thursday, and much to the delight of spectators, one of the stars, Robert Downey Jr. was on hand. [Click here to see a photo gallery.]
“It’s amazing that he’s real,” said Sarah Perno, a Dedham High School intern with Dedham Square Circle who got Downey’s signature.
She and fellow intern Guy Grant proudly held up their notebooks with Downey’s John Hancock, and said they loved him in all his roles, but especially as Tony Stark in the Ironman and Avengers movies.
Dominic Marcil, 3, and Giovanni Revetria, 2, wore their Ironman masks to meet Downey, who signed the masks. Their mothers, Christin Leger and Katie Revetria, brought them from Lunenburg and Leominster, respectively.
Both boys were shy about talking, but Dominic handed Downey a picture of Ironman that he colored in. Downey took it happily, though he declined a “number nine steak and cheese” sandwich offered to him by an employee at a nearby restaurant.
Dedham was selected for exterior shots in "The Judge," which follows a successful lawyer (Downey) back to his hometown for his mother’s funeral. While there, he discovers his estranged father and the town’s judge (played by Robert Duvall) is suspected of her murder.
Prior to the filming, the buildings at the corner of Ames and High streets were altered to make them fit the movie, which takes place in a town in Crawford County, Ind.
The Norfolk County Superior Court became the Crawford County Superior Court, and a similar change was made to the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds.
The Dedham Community House became the Willow Brothers Funeral Home and featured in a scene where Downey drives up to the building, puts on his suit jacket and walks inside.
While filming took place, children enrolled in Dedham Community House programs continued to play out back.
Rain in the morning delayed filming, and crews covered lighting equipment with plastic to keep it from getting wet. After a few flashes of lighting, the rain dwindled, and filming could resume.
Dedham police directed traffic with the help of a Westwood officer, according to Dedham Police Chief Michael d’Entremont.
As of the early afternoon, he said he’d only gotten one traffic complaint.
“The Judge” producers told Dedham selectmen in June that part of the reason they were filming in Massachusetts was that the state offers tax incentives to filmmakers shooting movies in its cities and towns.
Other filming locations have included Shelburne Falls and Milton. (cq)
Crews will be back in Dedham Friday to continue to shoot.