Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo all look like serious Oscar contenders for their work in the film that won Bennett Miller Cannes’ best director prize
Bennett Miller’s first two feature films, Capote (2005) and Moneyball (2011), were both nominated for the best picture Oscar. His third, Foxcatcher, has already garnered him the best director prize at May’s Cannes Film Festival. But if Foxcatcher is to follow in the footsteps of Miller’s earlier films, it will have to resonate stateside, too, which is why so much attention was paid to its North American premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on Saturday morning.
A 134-minute version of the film, which has been slightly re-edited since Cannes, unspooled before a packed Palm Theatre — the same venue that the world premiere of Capote helped to open nine years ago — and, upon its conclusion, was met with a very strong ovation. Viewers seemed particularly impressed by the strong performances of the three men at the center of the film — Channing Tatum, Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo — two of whom (Tatum and Carell) have never been accorded roles of this nature or been as good as they are in this film (Ruffalo is almost always great), and all three of whom received major applause (Carell’s being the loudest).
The slow-burning drama, which will be released by Sony Pictures Classics on Nov. 14, right in the thick of the Oscar season, is set in the late 1980s and is based on the true story of a pair of brothers who won gold medals for wrestling in the 1984 Olympics (Ruffalo and Tatum), the younger and more vulnerable of whom (Tatum) was later taken under the wing of one of the richest — and weirdest — men in America, John du Pont (Carell).
My sense is that it will be on the bubble for a best picture nom (like Prisoners, which played and was similarly received at Telluride last year, it may be a bit too dark for some in the Academy), but that its actors, script (co-written by Dan Futterman, who also penned Capote, and E. Max Frye) and director will probably stand a better shot. Ruffalo will be vying for a spot in the supporting actor race (in which he should also be considered for Begin Again), but Tatum and Carell are apparently both going to be pushed as leads, and it will be interesting to see how that plays out.
All three men do physically grueling and psychologically complex work. Tatum and Ruffalo spent months training and learning how to perform choreographed wrestling at a high level. (One of the greatest scenes that you’ll ever see is the first time that their characters step onto a wrestling mat to silently warm up together. Another is when Tatum melts down and destroys a hotel room.) Tatum adjusts his jaw and Ruffalo becomes pigeon-toed in order to look more like the real people they are playing. Carell, meanwhile, is virtually unrecognizable beneath a ton of makeup and prosthetics that enable him to play a much older man.
My sense is that men will respond to Foxcatcher a bit more than women, just as women will respond to Wild, another film here at the fest, a bit more than men. But both are ultimately stories about the love that family members tend to share for one another and the things that can come between them — and both offer terrific vehicles for first-rate actors, some of whom show us things in these roles that we never previously knew they had in them.
Thanks to Luciana we’ve got HQ scans from Empire magazine October issue featuring The Avengers 2.
I completed the photo coverage of Mark for the 2014 Emmy Awards. Enjoy them!
Big congratulations to the cast of The Normal Heart for their win at the Emmys last night. I’ve added the first images of Mark during the event and will be adding more soon!
Foxcatcher will Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday, September 8 at 6:00PM. Mark is also expected to attend the festival.
When we first meet Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum), he’s already on the far side of his career peak. Since winning the gold at the 1984 Olympics, his life has been reduced to a lonesome routine of training, enlivened only by the occasional speaking engagement. When Mark is invited by John du Pont (Steve Carrell) to join the US team preparing for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, he asks his brother to take part, but the smarter, more seasoned Dave (Mark Ruffalo, also appearing at the Festival in Infinitely Polar Bear) refuses to uproot his family for the sake of glories already achieved.
Mark moves to du Pont’s sprawling estate and becomes enveloped in a cocoon of wealth and eccentricity. Gun-loving, self-aggrandizing, and fiercely patriotic, du Pont spoils Mark with gifts and praise, even while pushing his limits with relentless training. Dave is eventually coaxed into joining Mark on “Team Foxcatcher,” but there is something disquieting about du Pont’s generosity. As they near a triumph at the Seoul Olympics, Mark’s pent-up rage threatens to collide with du Pont’s fevered paranoia, and the combination is disastrous.
A 3-D film by Jean-Luc Godard, a hotly anticipated wrestling thriller by Bennett Miller and new works by the seasoned directors David Cronenberg and Mike Leigh are among the 30 films that will make up the main slate of this year’s New York Film Festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center announced Wednesday.
Along with Mr. Godard’s “Goodbye to Language,” his 39th feature film, and Mr. Miller’s “Foxcatcher,” about a schizophrenic coach, the 52nd annual festival will show Mr. Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars,” starring Julianne Moore, and Mr. Leigh’s “Mr. Turner,” about the English artist J.M.W. Turner. All four works won awards at the Cannes Film Festival this year.
Additional titles include “The Wonders,” an Italian film about a family of beekeepers that won the director, Alice Rohrwacher, the Grand Prix at Cannes, and “Whiplash,” by Damien Chazelle, which looks at the struggles of a young musician and collected the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The festival will also show the United States premiere of “Time Out of Mind” by Oren Moverman, who directed “The Messenger” and wrote “Jesus Son” and “I’m Not There.”
As previously announced, the festival will open with the world premiere of David Fincher’s “Gone Girl,” based on the best-selling book by Gillian Flynn, and close with “Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance,” starring Michael Keaton.
Its centerpiece film, “Inherent Vice” – described by Kent Jones, director of the New York Film Festival as “a phantasmagorical journey through the past” – was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and is based on the novel by Thomas Pynchon.
The festival runs Sept. 26 to Oct. 12. A full list of the main slate films is here.
I have added a few more recent photoshoots to the photo gallery in the past few days.
You might call August, 2014 a full-circle month for Mark Ruffalo. His performance as Ned Weeks in Ryan Murphy‘s HBO version of The Normal Heart earned one of that film’s astonishing 16 Emmy nominations, with the winners to be announced on Aug. 25. He’s eager to catch the Broadway revival of the 1996 stage play that launched his career, Kenneth Lonergan‘s This Is Our Youth, which begins on the 18th with Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin.
Writing about his work in Lonergan’s You Can Count On Me, the New York Times’ Stephen Holden said, “Mr. Ruffalo’s star-making performance deserves to be added to the list of charismatic, grownup lost boys that includes the Marlon Brando of A Streetcar Named Desire and the Jack Nicholson of Easy Rider.”
Yet this is the same guy who plays the Hulk in the Avengers franchise. And the same guy whose social activism includes deeply personal work on behalf of gun-control laws, and who just signed on to star with Rachel McAdams in Spotlight, Tom McCarthy’s film about two Boston Globe reporters whose investigation of pedophile priests led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law. And of course he’s currently onscreen with Keira Knightley in the exquisite indie feature Begin Again. A few days ago I spoke via FaceTime with the actor during some time cadged from a family vacation on the French island of Corsica.
DEADLINE: Mark, beginning in 1986, when I became the theater reporter at the New York Times, through the 1990s as Variety’s chief critic, the story that more or less defined my career was AIDS. So many of those stories were obituaries of brilliant men including Michael Bennett, the genius behind A Chorus Line, and Charles Ludlam, who had just come to filmdom attention in The Big Easy. At that time, you were a teenager growing up in Virginia Beach, Va. How aware were you of AIDS?
MARK RUFFALO: My friends and I were aware that this disease was affecting gay men, but it all seemed very far away from us — at least until a man I was very close to came out to me. This was complicated by the fact that he was also professing his love for me. At the time, he was the only gay person I knew — or thought I knew. And oddly enough, it was him who really pulled away from our friendship more than me. And so that was my first experience of somebody who was gay and who was willing and courageous enough to come out to me at that age. Then I moved to San Diego and eventually, soon after that, ended up in Los Angeles going to the Stella Adler Academy, where there were a lot more people who were openly gay.
I lived about a block off of Santa Monica Boulevard. I had many friends who were part of the gay culture and I started working at restaurants and meeting a whole other group of people who were in the gay culture openly. That was a time when AIDS really started to become more and more apparent. I worked with people who had AIDS. My brother worked in a salon and had people who had AIDS and were fighting it. It was also around the advent of AZT. But before that, I also was seeing these Act Up people, and I was always impressed by the solidarity of them. I just started to learn about AIDS in a way that most Americans hadn’t through the mainstream media. I started to really sympathize with what was happening in that culture.
I knew a waiter that, (though) he was so sick, he had to work, he didn’t have health insurance. So he would come to work, and the bottom of his feet would just be literally gone, just an open wound from fungal infections that his body couldn’t fight any more. And he had to work those nights just to make ends meet, and it was a tough, rough existence. I was seeing it firsthand. I was reading about the lack of any kind of governmental supervision or response…
DEADLINE: Did you feel that you were a political person, or do you think this radicalized you?
RUFFALO: Well, I was studying with Stella at that time, who came from the Yiddish theater and from the Jewish-American immigrant culture, which was the intellectual culture, and they were very socially active. Stella was a social-justice radical and I was turned on by that aspect of the work that I was learning about. My friends, the people I was working and studying with, started a sort of citizens’ response to the AIDS crisis that was head-and-shoulders above what the government was willing to do. Coupled with that was a hysteria that was being sort of engendered by the mainstream media about AIDS for a long time. And so I saw a great injustice happening right in front of my eyes, and that turned me on politically.
I wasn’t gay, and in the beginning, the backlash to the way that the gay culture was being treated over AIDS wasn’t fully inclusive. It was very gay. And so I didn’t really feel that I was totally part of that, but I got a lot from it, and I sympathized with it. I just didn’t know where I fit in, into that movement at that time, other than it was a social-justice movement that I completely believed in.