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New game plan for ‘Leatherheads’

Clooney puts on his helmet

Repping what could be his most commercial film to date as a director, Universal has set George Clooney to helm and star in football pic “Leatherheads,” which U has labored to get made for a decade.

Renee Zellweger is in negotiations to co-star in the romantic comedy set against the backdrop of pro football’s formation in the 1920s.

Clooney is rewriting the script and will begin production in early spring. His Smoke House Prods. partner Grant Heslov will produce with Casey Silver.

The film has had several incarnations over the years, including as a drama with screenwriter Jon Favreau and director Jonathan Mostow. The original premise revolved around an aging football player who coaxes a college star to drop out and try his luck in a new professional league. Clooney was once close to starring in it for former Section Eight partner Steven Soderbergh; they expected to make it their follow-up to U’s “Out of Sight.”

Clooney and his “Good Night, and Good Luck” co-writer Heslov staked Smoke House to a first-look Warner Bros. deal in July.

Clooney is currently filming the Soderbergh-directed “Ocean’s Thirteen” and recently wrapped Soderbergh’s “The Good German” and the Tony Gilroy-directed “Michael Clayton.”

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