About 160 people gathered in Glendale Cemetery on Wednesday. But they were not there for a burial.
Instead, they were part of the cast and crew of I, Alex Cross, a new movie which has been shooting scenes in the Cleveland area and, more recently, in Akron.
The movie stars Tyler Perry as Alex Cross, the detective in a series of novels by James Patterson. Two previous adaptations of Cross novels, Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider, starred Morgan Freeman. The cast of I, Alex Cross also includes Matthew Fox, Ed Burns, Jean Reno and John C. McGinley.
After shooting in Stan Hywet Hall earlier this week, the movie went on to Glendale, with equipment arriving Tuesday night. Shooting began early Wednesday and wrapped up by midafternoon, said Steven Kaut, Glendale’s chief operating officer.
As had been the case at Stan Hywet, Glendale was a closed set for the film, with the cemetery shut down for the day. It reopens with its regular hours today.
Guards from Cleveland-based R-CAP security also began arriving Tuesday night. While security would have been relatively tight under most circumstances, it appeared to tighten after the national headlines generated by an incident with former Lost star Fox Sunday morning. A Cleveland bus driver has accused him of drunkenly attacking her when she would not allow him to get on her bus, which had been reserved by a private party.
When a reporter approached Glendale’s front gate, a guard not only denied him admittance but also said, “I can’t talk to you.”
Not far away, about 75 cars used by people associated with the movie, including extras, were parked, with a dozen large trailers beyond that. The guard at that location politely asked that the reporter stay on the sidewalk and not go near the trailers; still, the guard declined to say whether the vehicles were associated with the film.
It was possible to see the production in action from a distance, through the fence along the South Maple Street side of the cemetery. But even there, rubber-necking had its limits. Two Akron police cars were parked along Maple, in part to make sure that traffic kept moving and people did not park on the street.
Asked how this had all worked out for the cemetery, Kaut said, “Things went real well. We were very pleased. They were very respectful.”
He was surprised by the size of the operation. “I didn’t realize how many people it takes for maybe a five-minute part of movie to get made,” he said.
This was the first major movie shot in the cemetery, Kaut said, but it might not be the last. Not only was he satisfied with the way the cemetery was treated, Kaut also said the production’s representatives talked about coming back both to Glendale and Stan Hywet for future projects. And Northeast Ohio has become an active location for movies such as I, Alex Cross, The Avengers and the Akron-set 25 Hill.
Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and in the HeldenFiles Online blog at http://heldenfels.ohio.com and on Facebook and on Twitter. He also does a weekly video chat for Ohio.com. He can be reached at 330-996-3582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.