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WE ARE MARSHALL

Suiting Up Again
"If I had to use one word to describe the fashion of that time it would be ‘transitional,'” says costume designer Danny Glicker. "When people think of the ‘70s, they conjure up very specific images of crazy and outrageous designs, but most of that came later. Plus, Huntington, like any small town, would naturally have been a little bit behind the curve. Essentially, it was more of a late-1960s look we were after. We worked exclusively from period research from the region, allowing us to recreate subtle details that would speak to everyone.”

For Matthew Fox's portrayal of Red Dawson, Glicker reflected the character's reserved manner by taking a conservative tack, sticking to classic pegged pants and slender ties, with just a hint of the wider shirt collars that heralded the new decade. For Matthew McConaughey, as the coach coming in from Ohio with some new ideas, he provided a counterpoint by introducing such fashion-forward elements as slightly wider ties and bolder prints.

Glicker's biggest challenge was restoring Marshall's fighting colors, the green and white. "The Marshall green of the 1970s, a very bright Kelly green, no longer exists. It fell out of vogue because it's difficult to dye fabrics that green with colorfastness, not to mention that some of the chemicals commonly used then are no longer legal,” he explains.

Nevertheless, compromise was not an option. "Anyone knowledgeable about Marshall University speaks about the green with a lot of affection and there's a real yearning to see that again so, even though it took a lot of work and the help of a lot of talented dyers, I'm very excited about being able to put the true green and white back on the field.”

The designer got a break when it came to recreating the period letterman jackets. Working initially from old photos, he experimented with various fabrics and stitch-work to create several prototypes but still didn't feel he was getting it right. Then, typical of the atmosphere of cooperation that had developed between the community and the film crew, someone in town volunteered his own vintage jacket as a pattern.

Glicker also reproduced uniforms for three rival school teams—Morehead, Xavier and East Carolina—and outfitted thousands of extras.

He found one retro-wear fan in Anthony Mackie, who fondly remembers, as a kid, raiding his father's closet to make Halloween costumes. "When they told me it would be polyester slacks and button-down collars, it sounded like a dream come true,” says Mackie, with a laugh. "I put my bid in early for certain things. They don't make leather jackets like they used to, with the funky patchwork, and platform shoes for men—you can't even find those anymore.” 24, 19, 32… Hut, Hut… Hike!

It fell to renowned sports-action coordinator Mark Ellis ("The Longest Yard,” "Invincible”) to make sure the teams not only looked the part, but played it. "We Are Marshall” includes portions of three significant gridiron contests: the away-game played at East Carolina on the day of the crash; the game against Morehead ten months later, which marked the reconstructed team's inauspicious debut; and the surprising Xavier game, which followed. But it's not just generic football action. Says Ellis, "The story is about relationships and community, and the games support that; they're part of the rebuilding process. It's about a new group of players and freshmen coming in and taking on the positions of those who were lost.”

McConaughey, who worked with Ellis, McG, Linden and Lengyel on staging the sequences, notes that, "Each executed play had to represent exactly what Lengyel had coached, and had to be specific to certain players. When we change offense from the power-I to the veer, you have to see that evolve in the game. You have to see it work and you have to see it fail.”

Ellis studied arc

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