Heading For The End Zone
Although PSINet Stadium was the film's primary location, taking on the aspect of a Bakelite--with production vehicles and trailers housed in the parking lot, locker rooms actually being utilized by the core players and other rooms being converted by production designer Dan Bishop into the Sentinels' locker room and Coach
McGinty's office--other Charm City locations
were effectively utilized to duplicate the neighboring town of Washington, D.C. These included the waterside piers at Hendersons Wharf, along with various downtown area restaurants, bars, offices, shops and a deserted downtown bank which was transformed into the prison which holds the replacements after a night of battling several striking Sentinels off the field. (Ironically, the home stadium for the Washington Redskins in Landover, Maryland, was put into action for two days of filming a Sentinels away game). Production designer Bishop was often faced with the job of working with practical locations that couldn't be radically altered for the film--like
PSINet Stadium--inducing him to imaginatively tweak the real for the reel in various subtle ways.
Also keeping a grip on verisimilitude was costume designer Jill Ohanneson, who clothed the characters in ways that illuminated their personalities, rather than obscure them. "We didn't want action figures," states Ohanneson. "We wanted human beings. and we didn't want the clothing to upstage the actors.
"The replacements are all working guys," she continues. "None of them has a lot of money or flash. We wanted them to have an earthy feel, including Keanu as Shane Falco. Keanu, Howie Deutch and I all wanted to keep Shane's values the same throughout the movie. It's not about money or girls or cars or clothes. It's about being able to play the game, and remaining true to himself. His clothes are all approachable denims, t-shirts. chambrays, worn leather jackets, caps.
"Jimmy McGinty. as played by Gene Hackman, is true to himself as well," Ohanneson continues. "He's been successful, had the money, and now dresses for comfort. ..but very proper. McGinty is a bit more traditional and old school, clothing that have been worn by men in his economic class for the last 30 years but still look good today. There were a lot of layers and textures to McGinty's clothes, as there are to McGinty's character."
Ohanneson's biggest challenge was designing uniforms for the Sentinels and five other fictitious pro teams in an imaginary league. "We had to avoid any color combinations that actually exist in the NFL," she notes, "not only now but for the last 10 years as well because of the copyright laws. I orchestrated the colors with Dan Bishop, our production designer, every little detail right down to the logos.
The colors for the hero team, however, were determined by the filmmakers from the very beginning: they could only be red, white and blue with a distinctive Minuteman logo as befitting the Sentinels name, all-American colors for the all-American guys who display the finest qualities this country has to offer.
Elaborating on this theme is Jon Favreau. "It's such a great canvas to paint against," says the actor who plays the voracious Bateman. "It's a real, classic American genre, and the Replacements hopefully embody the finest virtues of that tradition."
"I hope that 'The Replacements' makes audiences laugh," adds Deutch, "but I would love it Wit also touches people's emotions. It would make me happy if this film gave people a sense that if Shane, Coach McGinty and the other 'losers' in the movie can redeem their dreams, than there's hope for everyone."
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