ANDOVER — The film crews were busy setting up their tripods, wires and boom mikes, so no one noticed as Cindy McKallagat smuggled some photographs of her children behind the pharmacy counter.
The Letourneau's Pharmacy owner wanted to make sure her loved ones had a cameo in the latest film to hit the Merrimack Valley — "Don McKay".
The dark drama, starring Thomas Haden Church and Elisabeth Shue, is shooting in the area through mid-September.
They took over Letourneau's for two hours yesterday morning, drawing a small but steady flow of gawkers who had stopped by to grab coffee at the neighboring Dunkin' Donuts on Route 28.
"We have parts. We act like we're doing business, answering phones and dealing with computers," McKallagat said. "In real life, I'm e-mailing all my children saying I got to meet Elisabeth Shue. It's been fun."
Cindy and Shawn McKallagat aren't the only locals to see a piece of the $5 million film project.
The crew has been using a foreclosed house off of Route 114 in North Andover as their main backdrop, and also have shot scenes at Lawrence High School and Palmer's restaurant in Andover.
The movie is just the latest sign to many that the Merrimack Valley has turned into a Hollywood hotbed seemingly overnight.
Films like "The Surrogates," "This Side of the Truth," and "The Box" have filmed here, mostly at Osgood Landing on Route 125 in North Andover.
"Everyone has been great to us," "Don McKay" director Jake Goldberger said of shooting in the Andovers. "We hope we can keep this going and make a film everyone in town will be proud of. We're all excited."
The movie is about high school janitor Don McKay — played by Church — who is returning to his hometown after a tragedy forced him to leave 25 years ago.