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'Iron Man 3' casting to be held Saturday in Raleigh

By Jake Seaton

North Carolina didn't land a high-profile remake of the "classic" 1974 exploitation flick "Caged Heat." Rather, Marvel's next entry in the blockbuster "Iron Man" franchise is operating under that working title, perhaps hinting at the incorporation of another Marvel superhero.

It's no secret that studios like to mask major motion pictures with working titles to disguise or distract from the production of a project. Recently "The Dark Knight Rises" filmed under the working title "Mangus Rex," while "The Avengers" used the title "Group Hug" and "The Amazing Spider-Man" filmed under the production codename "Fiona's Tale."

The up-coming Superman reboot, "Man of Steel," wrapped shooting in Vancouver, where it filmed under the title "Autumn Frost."

That "Iron Man 3" will shoot under the working title "Caged Heat" may be meaningless – much like Michael Bay's "Prime Directive" title for the "Transformers" trilogy – but that hasn't stopped comic book fans from speculating. Many have been quick to point to the title’s similarity to Marvel superhero Luke Cage and the fact that the latest "Iron Man" film may be used as a vehicle to launch a Luke Cage spin-off.

While production on the film isn't set to begin until after the release of Marvel Studios' highly anticipated comic book hero collaboration film "The Avengers" in May, pre-production is well underway and the casting of extras will begin this Saturday in Raleigh.

On Tuesday, the Tona B. Dahlquist Casting Company announced that a casting call will be held at Crabtree Valley Mall between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday. The call sheet, which is for the "Major Motion Picture 'CAGED HEAT," indicated that the casting company is looking for extras of "all types, all ages and all ethnic descents."

A casting call will also be held in Wilmington Saturday, April 21. Interested parties should bring a current, non-returnable snapshot.

In November, Premier Casting revealed the "Iron Man 3" production will utilize about 1,000 extras during filming, and more than 550 crew jobs between May 2012 and January 2013.

The agency also reported a Memorial Day weekend release in 2013 for the flick, which stars Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson and Don Cheadle.

On Monday The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Sir Ben Kingsley is in talk to play a villain in the film, however he "will not be the primary villain, according to insiders, and it is not clear what role he will play."

Shane Black will take over directorial duties from Jon Favreau, who helmed the first two "Iron Man" films. Black's credits include 2005's "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," which also starred Downey.

Aaron Syrett, director of the North Carolina Film Office, said that while the film's production will be based in Wilmington, Marvel Studios may look at other sites in the State. Syrett said Charlotte and Raleigh are possibilities, and scouting will continue in the coming weeks.

Syrett said "Iron Man 3" will be "the largest production to shoot in North Carolina."

"The state's film office now has the tools in place to once again bring North Carolina to the forefront of the film industry thanks to one of the smartest incentives in the business passed by our Governor and legislature," Syrett said.

EUE/Screen Gems co-owner Chris Cooney added, "This film is a game changer -- not only for our studios, but for the entire state of North Carolina."

The "Iron Man 3" announcement continues a big year for North Carolina when it comes to film production. As of Sept. 10, 29 productions had set up offices in the state with an estimated impact of more than $200 million, according to the governor's office.

"2011 has been North Carolina's busiest year in the film industry with productions having a direct spend of over $200 million," Perdue said. "Iron Man 3' will add to this record breaking year and carry over into 2012."

The first two "Iron Man" films were primarily shot in Southern California.

At New York Comic-Con in November, "The Avengers" producer Kevin Feige said "Iron Man 3" will be "the first of what we refer to Phase Two of this Avengers Assemble talk, which will lead to an 'Avengers 2."

Feige went so far as to say a teaser for "Iron Man 3" will be attached to the credits for "The Avengers."

"It's a nice tradition, and I like traditions, so I think we'll keep that up," Feige said.

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