Foxcatcher tells the gripping, true story of Olympic Wrestling Champion brothers Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) and their relationship with the eccentric John du Pont (Steve Carell), heir to the du Pont Chemical fortune that led to murder. Based on the true story of Mark Schultz, an Olympic wrestler whose relationship with sponsor John du Pont and brother Dave Schultz would lead to unlikely circumstances.
Foxcatcher is an American biographical drama film, directed by Bennett Miller, starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo. The screenplay was written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman. It competed for the Palme d’Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, where Miller won the Best Director Award.
About the Production
Based on true events, FOXCATCHER is a rich and moving story of brotherly love, misguided loyalty and the emotional bankruptcy that can accompany great wealth and power. Examining the perilous relationship between an eccentric multi-millionaire and two champion wrestlers, Academy Award nominee Bennett Miller’s fourth feature once again centers around complex characters with vivid personalities navigating unusual circumstances. As with his previous features, CAPOTE and MONEYBALL, large and often allegorical themes in society emerge through Miller’s meticulously imagined portraits of real people.
The mass of research collected during the years of preparation for FOXCATCHER yielded the stark facts from which the drama would be created, transforming the story into a wholly new incarnation. “It’s fact to fiction as a vehicle back to truth,” says Miller. “Some months after CAPOTE was released I received a letter from Harper Lee. She said the film was a demonstration of fiction as a means towards truth. There was, as she pointed out, a great deal in the film that we had invented, but that ‘The film told the truth about Truman.’ FOXCATCHER has a similar aim.”
Miller first heard about the story of eccentric multi-millionaire John Eleuthere du Pont (Steve Carell) and a pair of world champion wrestler brothers, Mark (Channing Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) when executive producers Michael Coleman and Tom Heller showed him a newspaper article about the story. “The circumstances seemed comical and absurd, but the outcome was horrible and real,” says Miller. “The deeply strange things that happened on the du Pont estate were unlike anything I had personally experienced, and yet they felt familiar. There was something about the story – or perhaps something beneath the story – that wasn’t strange at all. In fact, the opposite.”
At the heart of FOXCATCHER is a triangular dynamic between du Pont and the Schultz brothers that Miller found compelling- enough so to commit to making it his next film. But while his initial impulse to take on the project was immediate, the subsequent time and energy poured into it was expansive. “I needed to learn what hadn’t been known about the story and that takes time,” says Miller. “What compelled me was clear and convincing; I knew this was a story for me. But the process of summoning this film took years, involving relentless research and discovery that goes far beyond determining plot. My first undertaking was authoring and engineering the moments and sequencing that would become the film – a process that allowed the film to continue to reveal itself all the way through to the last detail in post-production.”
Miller traveled all over the country- to Iowa, California, Colorado, Missouri, and Pennsylvania – amassing materials, including video footage of both du Pont and the Schultz brothers, and interviewing dozens of people, including Mark Schultz, Dave’s widow Nancy, their friends and fellow wrestlers, people who had worked for du Pont, police officers, and anyone who had lived any part of the story. “This story harbors some uncomfortable truths,” says Miller. “Everyone I spoke with seemed to be guarding some aspect of what happened.”
The basics of the story revealed the following: Although Dave was slightly older than Mark, the siblings did not have a typical brotherly relationship growing up. After their parents split up when they were young, Dave assumed a paternal role as they moved between their parents’ homes, often fending for themselves. Over time, Mark developed a need for his brother, as wrestling partner or coach, or for emotional support. At the same time, he was jealous of Dave’s success. His inner turbulence only escalated as the years went by. “Mark was always that little brother that just couldn’t break out or figure out how to get by on his own,” says Tatum. “He always had to rely on Dave, and this kept him from having his own life, his own career, and the thing he wanted most-his own respect from people.” Mark’s confused vulnerability made him frequently turn his pent-up anger on himself as much as on his wrestling opponents. “I don’t think anybody could punish Mark more than he could himself and I think he hardens himself against the world by punishing himself,” says Tatum.
Directed by: Bennett Miller
Starring: Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, Sienna Miller, Mark Ruffalo Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Michael Hall, Mark Schultz, Vanessa Redgrave, Tara Subkoff, Stephanie Garvin, Samara Lee
Screenplay by: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
Production Design by: Jess Gonchor
Cinematography by: Greig Fraser
Film Editing by: Jay Cassidy, Stuart Levy, Conor O’Neill
Costume Design by: Kasia Walicka-Maimone
Set Decoration by: Frederick E. Kowalo, Kathy Lucas
Music by: Rob Simonsen
MPAA Rating: R for some drug use and a scene of violence.
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: November 14, 2014