The cast and crew of HBO’s Sex and the City invaded Jake’s Cree-Mee Freeze on Route 33 in Millstone Monday.
A caravan of 125 HBO employees, extras and three of the series’ main stars braved the heat outside the roadside ice cream stand to endure several hours of filming scenes that will appear this year in "I Love a Charade," the finale of the show’s fifth season, which begins July 21.
According to Grace Naughton, a producer of the show who was on the set Monday, approximately 10 hours of work will translate into three minutes of screen time when the episode airs.
The scenes filmed at Cree-Mee Freeze will feature characters Carrie Bradshaw, Samantha Jones and Miranda Hobbes during a pit stop at a roadside burger stand on their way out to Long Island to spend a weekend in the Hamptons.
Michael Patrick King, Sex and the City’s executive producer, said that the Cree-Mee Freeze had exactly the look that he wanted to achieve in the episode.
"In the episode, the girls are fleeing Manhattan, so we needed a space that looked nothing like the city," King said during a short break in filming.
"This place had the really interesting, quaint, authentic look of real roadside burger stand," he said.
"We thought some place like this would be much more interesting than having them stop off at a fast-food place," he added.
In between filming, actresses Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall and Cynthia Nixon could be seen milling around the set.
In addition to Carrie, Samantha and Miranda — baby Brady, who was added to the cast when Miranda gave birth in last season’s finale, is on screen during the scene, said Naughton.
As a part of the action, the ladies are munching on burgers and fries, but the ice cream, Cree-Mee Freeze’s specialty, was nowhere to be found.
Mike Reutter, who operates the ice cream shop with his wife, Judy, said he still was not sure whether his famous visitors would be treated to a taste test before they left.
The Reutters, who have never seen the show, said that they were impressed with the behavior of the cast and crew.
"This morning there was a knock at the back door of the shop, and it was Kim Cattrall. She came over to introduce herself," said Judy Reutter.
Judy Reutter said that she was "definitely going to watch the show now."
Although the Reutters were able to put the filming in perspective, some of their employees could not contain their excitement.
College students Dylan Dreyer, of Manalapan, and Esther Pesciotta, of Millstone, said they were "huge fans of the show."
"I was shocked when I heard that they were going to be filming a scene here," Pesciotta said.
The two girls may end up being a part of the episode as extras who work in the fictional stand.
"We’ll do what we normally do — just on TV," Dreyer laughed.
Although some shop employees may beat the odds and end up as extras, several local residents also turned out with the hope that they — or their children — might end up on camera.
Suzanne Chitwood, of Millstone, and daughter Jessica were among the hopeful.
"We really haven’t seen anything yet, but we hope we will get to see Sarah Jessica Parker before we leave," Chitwood said.
If you ask Jessica Chitwood, there is no choice between watching the filming and her usual reason for coming to Cree-Mee Freeze — the ice cream.
"If I had to pick one, I’d definitely pick the ice cream," she said.