Melinda Sue Gordon / Universal Pictures
By Ron Magid, Special to the Times When using visual effects to give a movie like "Leatherheads" a period feel, one fumble and it's all over. We're not talking alien robots, explosions or otherworldly creatures here; these effects have to take audiences back to a real time and place. So when George Clooney was prepping his loving ode to the early days of pro football, he huddled with boutique VFX house CIS Hollywood, which had contributed effects to the films of Clooney's mentor, Steven Soderbergh, including "Erin Brockovich" and "Solaris" (it also didn't hurt that their most recent project was the football-themed "We Are Marshall"). In "Leatherheads," Clooney planned to show the evolution of football as a spectator sport, beginning with primitive pro games played in cow pastures, progressing to smaller arenas like Ennis Field and ending with a massive, double-decker Chicago stadium that would hold 30,000 people.
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