FOXCATCHER Channing Tatum says filming Foxcatcher was a big challenge and never wants to wrestle again!

Based on true events, FOXCATCHER tells the dark and fascinating story of Olympic Wrestling Champion Mark Schultz and how paranoid schizophrenic millionaire John DuPont killed his brother, Olympic Champion Dave Schultz.

When Olympic Gold Medal winning wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) is invited by wealthy heir John du Pont (Steve Carell) to move on to the du Pont estate and help form a team to train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics at his new state-of-the-art training facility, Schultz jumps at the opportunity, hoping to focus on his training and finally step out of the shadow of his revered brother, Dave (Mark Ruffalo).

“Mark was always that little brother that just couldn’t break out, couldn’t figure out how to do it 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.

But du Pont is not all that he seems. Driven by hidden needs, du Pont, played spectacularly by Carell, sees backing Mark his chance to achieve greatness by putting together a world-class wrestling team as an opportunity to gain the elusive respect of his peers and, more importantly, his disapproving mother (Vanessa Redgrave).

Flattered by the attention and entranced by du Pont’s majestic world, Mark comes to see his benefactor as a father figure and grows increasingly dependent on him for approval. Though initially supportive, du Pont’s mercurial personality turns and he begins to lure Mark into an unhealthy lifestyle that threatens to undermine his training. Soon du Pont’s erratic behavior and cruel psychological game-play begin to erode the athlete’s already shaky self-esteem. Meanwhile du Pont becomes fixated on Dave, who exudes the confidence both he and Mark lack, knowing that these are things even his money cannot buy. Fueled by du Pont’s increasing paranoia and alienation from the brothers, the trio is propelled towards a tragedy a deadly path.


“I think Mark had a lot of trepidations,” says Tatum. “I don’t think he really trusts anyone. But finally he is hearing somebody see him and Dave the way he thinks they deserve. Du Pont is saying that the brothers are heroes. They literally fight for their country and no one supports them, no one cares about them like he does. I don’t think Mark knew completely but I think he slowly started to see that this was the best opportunity he had ever been given. This is the opportunity for him to finally get the attention, respect and accolades that he’s always wanted, and to separate himself from Dave.”

Not only did Tatum immerse himself into the character by learning the movements and personality of Mark, he had to learn to wrestle. “”Wrestling, it’s an intimate thing, even though it’s super violent. You have to be comfortable being basically naked and wrestling. It’s weird. From an outsider’s perspective it looks very homosexual. I’ve gotten that a lot. And I always say, ‘Come on and try it out. You’ll see how non homosexual that is.’ And I don’t know what that’s like, even. But I can’t imagine it’s very much like that. It’s too painful. It’s chess, but a violent chess. I challenge anyone who thinks their sport is harder to come and try it. This has been the most painful movie I have ever done. I never want to wrestle again.”

And with the real life Mark Schultz the only one around on set made it more nerve wracking for Tatum to get things just right. “It was hard for Mark to watch and to have a real perspective on the movie because he only has what happened in real life to go from,” says Tatum. “Having him there was unbelievably helpful at times, in terms of the information that was given, but then other times it was definitely confusing trying to separate Mark’s real life emotions with what my job was to play him in the film.”

“Knowing that this stuff is real gives it another level of gravity. Even if the movie is good, if you’re not honest to it, you’re failing somehow. I think all of us would just roll over and die if we felt like we had failed.”

With all the Oscar-buzz surrounding this film and the exceptional performance by Tatum and his co-stars Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo, something tells us they did something just right.


Foxcatcher (TIFF 2014 selection) stars Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, Steve Carell, Vanessa Redgrave, and opens in theatres on November 28.




—Toni-Marie Ippolito

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