When you see a movie trailer for a film starring Channing Tatum (The Book Of Life) and Steve Carell (Crazy Stupid Love) you might be inclined to expect a comedy, but in Foxcatcher the actors have combined in a hard hitting biopic that takes in a bizarre true story of competitive freestyle wrestling, mental illness and murder. The film’s director, Bennett Miller, has already picked up a Best Director award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, where it was also in the running for the Palme d’Or, so expectations are high for the movie when it’s released later this year.
Foxcatcher should be hitting the big screen with a full UK and US release date of the 14th November 2014, following it’s premier at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival on the 19th May 2014. However, the official movie website under distributors Sony Pictures Classics states that it will be opening in New York and Los Angeles on the 14th and coming to a city near you soon, so we’ll have to wait and see what the general release date turns out to be.
The storyline delves in the detail of the relationship between Olympic Gold Medal wrestler, Mark Schultz (Tatum), and millionaire sponsor of team Foxcatcher, the US freestyle wrestling coaching outfit, John Eleuthère du Pont (Carell). While Miller also directed Moneyball, this is far from a simple story of a sporting underdog finding a way to pull off the unexpected.
It features a ferocious training style at Foxcatcher Farm, du Pont’s home and the base for the USA wrestling team, and the murder of Schultz’s brother Dave, who was also an Olympic Gold Medal winning wrestler and long time friend of du Pont. No motive has ever been officially found for the shooting and though the film is bound to fall short of solving this, it should go some way towards encapsulating the complex relationships behind it and the mental illness that had fallen over du Pont in the run up to the confrontation.
In addition to Channing Tatum and Steve Carell, it stars Mark Ruffalo (Avengers Age Of Ultron) as Dave Schultz and Sienna Miller (The Edge Of Love) as his wife Nancy. The cast also includes Vanessa Redgrave as John’s mother, Jean Liseter Austin du Pont, and Anthony Michael Hall.
From the look of the trailer below, Tatum, Carell and Ruffalo have gone to great pains to get into character for the production of the film. Carell is pretty much unrecognisable and Tatum looks like he’s put in the performance of his career in the role, going some way to putting down a serious acting mark that stands in stark contrast to his part in This Is The End.
The film is the work of production company, Annapurna Pictures, which has previously been responsible for films like American Hustle and Lawless. As well as having Miller in the director’s chair, Foxcatcher was written by Max Frye and Dan Futterman, who also wrote another Miller biopic, Capote.
This a movie with serious intent from all concerned in its creation, whether it’s the credentials of its production company, director or writers or the visceral intensity that the cast look likely to bring to the film. If it doesn’t go on to pick up more awards over the next year, we’ll be very surprised.
Not everyone will appreciate its uncomfortable subject matter and serious delivery, but for anyone that likes a bit more power to their movies it should be one to watch.