LEOMINSTER — Excitement rippled through downtown on Thursday, as crowds gathered near C&M Pizza, where “Captain America” star Chris Evans filmed scenes for upcoming miniseries “Defending Jacob,” an Apple TV+ production.
Although the series will feature a number of high profile actors, including Michelle Dockery of “Downton Abbey” fame, as well as Pablo Schreiber, who plays the villainous correctional officer in “Orange Is the New Black,” Leominsterites by and large turned out for Evans.
“We’re a three-generation superhero family,” said longtime Leominster resident Della Gagnon, who said she has lived across the street from C&M Pizza for 27 years. Stationed outside with her daughter and two granddaughters on Thursday morning, the group had a front row seat to the action.
The crew at Aunty Ellen’s Creative Confections made some cupcakes with Chris Evans face on them. Showing off the cupcakes is, from left, Christine Konich, Jessica Montalvo, Angela Rivera and Julia DeAmicis. (John Love / SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE)
Gagnon said that every member of her family has a favorite superhero, and that even the mention of one Marvel character often triggers a thorny debate among her various family members.
“I’m the Chris Evans one,” she said with a wink when her granddaughters weren’t listening.
The buzz around Evans’ working in town was elevated by the fact that the A-list actor is, by all accounts, a bit of a hometown hero.
Born in Boston and raised in Sudbury, according to interviews he’s done with various national outlets over the years, Evans’ presence sparked that particular local pride that Massachusetts is known for. This was compounded by the eponymous book that the miniseries is based on is set in Newton, and was written by Boston novelist William Landay.
Employees at Aunty Ellen’s Creative Confections were so excited about Evans’ time in town that they decorated cupcakes with his face on them, hoping to lure him into their shop.
“We decided just now,” said Christine Konich, executive cake director at the bakery, explaining that the cupcakes were a spur of the moment decision.
Julia DeAmicis, a recent High School graduate who runs the front of the store during the day, crafted a sign for the sidewalk out front of Aunty Ellen’s, inviting Evans to stop by. “Chris Evans, we have cupcakes for you,” it read.
Aside from a one-day shutdown at C&M Pizza, nearby businesses remained open.
Vijay Patel, who manages Leominster Market, where production crews set up for the bulk of the afternoon, said that the hubbub was exciting. When the production company asked him whether or not they could use his property for filming, he said he told them it wouldn’t be a problem as long as they agreed not to block out the name of his store, which he hopes will appear in a shot in the series.
“It’s great advertising,” he said.
Although a small crowd gathered by the Domino’s across the street from C&M Pizza on Thursday afternoon, Evans stayed largely out of sight, filming from inside a black Audi in the Leominster Market parking lot.
Fans were undeterred, however, and their numbers continued to grow throughout the day. Any time there was action on the makeshift set — Evans-related or not — onlookers whipped out their cell phones, trying to get a glimpse of the famed actor who remained busy at work.
To reach Monica, email mbusch@ sentineland enterprise.com