‘Leatherheads’ features familiar N.C. scenery

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Steve Huffman
Salisbury Post
CHARLOTTE ó Both the Historic Salisbury Foundation’s depot and the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer are featured in “Leatherheads,” the George Clooney offering that’s scheduled for release April 4.
The movie was debuted at a Charlotte theater Monday to critics and a handful of locals who had roles in the production.
It’s a light-hearted romantic comedy full of witty banter and one-liners, reminiscent of something that Hollywood might have produced in the 1940s. In addition to Clooney, the movie stars Renée Zellweger and John Krasinski.
“Leatherheads” was shot in a number of North Carolina cities ó Salisbury, Spencer, Greensboro and Winston-Salem, among them ó last spring.
Scenes from the movie include several shot outside Salisbury Station. The depot’s interior is also visible at one point, Zellweger and Krasinski leaning against a wall while a solitary janitor works a mop back and forth across the floor on the opposite side of the room.
The Transportation Museum is the site of one of the movie’s final scenes, one that involves Clooney and Zellweger.
“Be Careful” ó the words painted in huge letters on the exterior of the museum’s back shop ó are clearly visible in the background as Clooney and Zellweger quibble over an antique motorcycle in the foreground.
Zellweger guns the motorcycle’s engine, causing Clooney to fall off.
“The trick is to hang on,” Zellweger tells Clooney.
Other scenes shot at the Transportation Museum include one where a group of men on foot chase a train and several of what appears to be an entrance to a football stadium. Clooney is filmed walking through the stadium’s archway, though the entrance wasn’t permanent, erected solely for the movie’s filming.
A walkway/loading platform behind the museum’s offices are also filmed.
Long-time Rowan County residents are likely to see more scenes shot in the countryside outside Salisbury and Spencer.
Clooney and Zellweger are coming to Salisbury this week as part of their promotional tour of “Leatherheads.” The movie’s co-stars will appear at a press conference at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Salisbury Station, 215 Depot St., but the event is open to the public.
Salisbury is the third stop of the “Whistle Stop Express” tour. Other stops include Duluth, Minn., Maysville, Ky., and Greenville, S.C.
Clooney plays Dodge Connolly, a brash, charming, aging football hero determined to guide his team from bar brawls to packed stadiums. The movie is set in 1925.
Zellweger stars as Lexie Littleton, a “spitfire newswoman” who suspects there are holes in Connolly’s star player’s war story.
The dialogue between the stars is light-hearted. At one point, when Connolly is attempting to talk Carter Rutherford (Krasinski’s character) into playing pro football, Rutherford says, “It makes sense, sort of.”
“So did blood-letting at one time,” Littleton replies.
Early in the movie, when the first of many brawls involving the football players erupts, one of the players breaks an advertising sign over the back of another.
The owner of a starch company that’s one of the biggest sponsors of Clooney’s team, the Duluth Bulldogs, is watching the game with his wife.
When the sign-breaking episode unfolds before them, the man’s wife turns to her husband and says, “Dear, there must be better ways to promote the starch industry.”
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Coverage of Wednesday’s press conference involving Clooney and Zellweger will be included in Thursday’s Post. A review of “Leatherheads” and more about the movie will be featured in the April 3 edition of the Post’s TimeOut section.- – –
Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or shuffman@salisburypost.com.