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It was clear from the beginning of the project that Stone's determination to paint an unyielding, honest, and free depiction of professional football would necessitate an element of fiction in its physical backdrops. Ultimately, the filmmakers and the National Football League agreed to disagree, without rancor or interference from one party to the other, and thus, the AFFA (Association of Football Franchises of America) was born, the professional football league to which the Miami Sharks and all other teams depicted in "Any Given Sunday" belong. In the end, dozens of people associated with the NFL, both past and current, making their own personal decisions, participated in the film, playing everything from players and coaches to trainers and equipment managers.

As it turned out, the creation of the AFFA allowed Stone and his creative team unprecedented opportunities. "We were freed up to create our own "look"— concepts of team names, logos, uniforms, trophies, rules, etc." says producer Clayton Townsend, just like in Stone's childhood card-and-dice game. "Oliver wanted to de-sanitize the game, take it down from the impersonal TV angles we've grown accustomed to, getting right in the face of these guys, both dramatically and physically."

Stone's choice of location for nearly the entire shoot of "Any Given Sunday" was Miami. It was predicated on several circumstances, including the company's ability to rent out three major sports facilities for the filming of games and training. One was the Orange Bowl, which has seen more than half a century of great football action; it was selected for the Sharks' home stadium, with three games filmed there: the Miami Sharks versus the Minnesota Americans, Chicago Rhinos and New York Emperors. Pro Player Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins, would stand as the home of the fictional California Crusaders. And the Homestead Sports Complex, its flamingo-pink exterior perfectly capturing the South Florida atmosphere, would be converted into the Sharks' training facility.

Miami's myriad mansions, restaurants, country clubs and the razzle and flash of Miami's legendary South Beach nightlife would also figure prominently in the film's story.

Following the completion of Miami shooting, the "Any Given Sunday" company then headed to Dallas to film the final game at another stadium with an extraordinary light and look, home to the fictional Dallas Knights. It also would be Stone's fourth visit to Dallas ("Born on the Fourth of July," "Talk Radio," "JFK"). BARRY SWITZER, coach of Cowboys, plays a sportscaster with Oliver.
However, before production started and the teams took the field, real football players had to be recruited and the actors cast by Stone had to look like real football players. The director charged football coordinator/second unit director Allan Graf and his associate Mark Ellis with the task of creating the brunt of the teams. Both are veterans of professional football who worked previously on such films as "The Program," "Jerry Maguire" and "The Waterboy," and currently are working on "The Replacements."

Recalls Graf, "We started recruiting football players in September, 1998 with a national manhunt and invited the best of them down to Miami. We held a week-long combine where we chose and cut them down to about 50, almost every one of whom had played either in the NFL, Canadian, or Arena Football League. These are the real-deal guys."

Adds Mark Ellis, "Then we had to incorporate the actors, cast as Sharks, and these guys jumped right in. They dressed with the players. They had their own lockers. They were part of the team. Luckily, Oliver chose really good athletes who were also really good actors, so

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