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'Big C' Loves South Norwalk Location Shoots

You may have seen it: John Benjamin Hickey won a Tony Award on Sunday night for his role in "The Normal Heart." On Monday, he was back to his day job, performing with Laura Linney , star of their Showtime series "The Big C," on the Stroffolino Bridge. "Keep going!" he yelled as he pretended to struggle through a marathon. "I'm done. I can't do it, you keep going."

"The Big C" was back, filming the entire day in South Norwalk. Traffic was diverted from Washington Street, which created problems for motorists, and the first day of Restaurant Week didn't go as planned. But onlookers enjoyed the sight of snow in June and getting a glimpse of Linney, who has won three Emmy awards, two Golden Globes and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

Aidan Dawson, 8, braved his fear of heights to sit on the bridge with his twin brother Dylan as dusk approached, watching as crew members ground ice to make snow and sprayed it on the sidewalk. Their mother said they had seen Linney and were pleased, although "they didn't really know who she is."

"They're more excited about the snow than anything else," she said.

"The Big C" spent three hours in South Norwalk one day recently, but that was early in the morning and didn't affect many people. Hugo Pazmino, assistant location manager, said director Michael Engle loves the location. "There's something about South Norwalk that's distinctive from where we've been before," he said. "It's definitely the architecture on Washington Street that sets it apart from other areas of Connecticut. You have industrial looks, you have commercial looks, you have that old-time feeling as well. You can find it here in one neighborhood; it's kind of crazy. You have the river, train tracks in back. ... Once the director saw it, that pretty much sealed it."

The crew shot three scenes. First Washington Street was used as the set for the New Year's Eve Minneapolis Marathon. Then filming went indoors to a vacant storefront before ending the day on the bridge.

Washington Street was closed throughout. Chris Santos, who said he was "pretty much the manager of serving" at Bacchus , said the lunch rush wasn't much. "This is supposed to be our busiest week," he said of Restaurant Week.

Katie Toth, who serves drinks at Caffeine, had a good day. "It got pretty busy," she said. "It was mostly crew, and it came in spurts." She got to meet Linney. "I wouldn't have noticed it was her, but she came in wearing winter clothes."

Pazmino said the crew went through two truckloads of ice to create snow for the scenes. The episode will air in late December.

Jessica Hamlette, one of the Norwalkers on the bridge, was pleased to be able to watch. "It's pretty cool," she said, "because it's close to home."

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