Whenever a passion project takes a long time to come to the big screen, there’s always a number of different incarnations that the filmmaker goes through, notably when it comes to the cast. With Bennett Miller‘s upcoming Foxcatcher, he apparently wound up with three perfectly cast actors in Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, and Channing Tatum (all of whom are poised to be majorly be in the Oscar conversation in the coming months), but in years prior he had other huge names in mind for the roles.
According to Vulture in their profile of Miller and the film, other names once considered included Ryan Gosling, Heath Ledger, and Bill Nighy. They weren’t thought of as a trio, it seems, but in my mind that would have been just as good a grouping. I’ll be seeing Foxcatcher in a few weeks at the New York Film Festival, and it can’t come soon enough. In the meantime, this random bit of trivia is certainly something to chew on.
Starring: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave, Sienna Miller and Anthony Michael Hall
Directed by: Bennett Miller
Written by: E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
Based on true events, FOXCATCHER tells the dark and fascinating story of the unlikely and ultimately tragic relationship between an eccentric multi-millionaire and two champion wrestlers.
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). Driven by hidden needs, du Pont sees backing Schultz’s bid for Gold and the chance to “coach” 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 no one could have foreseen.
FOXCATCHER is a rich and moving story of brotherly love, misguided loyalty and the corruption and emotional bankruptcy that can accompany great power and wealth. As with Academy Award® nominee Bennett Miller’s previous feature films, CAPOTE and MONEYBALL, he explores large themes in society through his complex character portraits of real people.
–Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!