Bennett Miller scooped the best director award at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday for “Foxcatcher”, a film showcasing another side to the acting skills of funny man Steve Carell.
Miller’s movie — based on the real-life murder of Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz by multi-millionaire John du Pont — has seen “The Office” star Carell hailed by critics.
The film, in which he plays the deranged, sinister du Pont, also stars Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo as Mark and Dave Schultz, two wrestling-champion brothers.
“It’s really something to be supported, and to have people who have faith in you, and to come out the other side,” Miller told the audience at the festival hall in Cannes as he accepted his prize.
Speaking afterwards, he lauded Carell’s courage in taking on the role.
“I wonder if it can really be communicated how courageous that is to show up knowing that the survivors of the family and the people who lived the story are going to be around set, and that the movie is going to be scrutinised,” he told reporters.
Both Mark Schultz and Dave’s widow Nancy came on set to help the actors and filmmakers during the shoot.
Carell said earlier this week that his first encounter with Nancy had been very awkward as he was decked out as his character du Pont when they met.
Miller also praised Tatum and Ruffalo, adding he never wanted to make a film without the latter, who “is an amazing actor” and “an amazing person.”
“Foxcatcher” opens on Mark (Tatum), who has always lived in the shadow of his loving elder sibling Dave (Ruffalo).
So when du Pont asks him out-of-the-blue to move to his sprawling estate and help put together a wrestling team for the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the insecure sportsman jumps at the chance.
Mark soon develops a father-son relationship with the erratic du Pont, who nevertheless turns on him and calls on his more confident brother to train the team instead.
Resentful at first, Mark eventually grows close to his brother again whilst du Pont becomes alienated from them, culminating in the tragic murder that made headlines in 1996 when the heir shot Dave Schultz.
The New York-born director has only made three feature films, but already he is a regular at international award ceremonies.
He directed his childhood friend Philip Seymour Hoffman to Oscar glory with “Capote”, his 2005 biopic of author and playwright Truman Capote.
Hoffman also won a BAFTA and Golden Globe for his performance.
Then came “Moneyball”, a 2011 biographical baseball drama which also got several award nominations.
At a press conference in Cannes on Monday, Miller choked up about Hoffman when a journalist asked about his ability to make actors disappear into roles, pointing to Carell and Hoffman’s star turn as Capote.
“It makes me emotional. The last time I saw you, I was more emotional than I wanted to ever be in front of people,” he said, before pausing and stumbling for words.
Miller took eight years to prepare “Foxcatcher”, researching the story by meeting those who knew the two brothers, and said the film had only properly been finished two weeks before.
Few days ago Liz had posted two pictures of Mark with Jim and Matt promoting The Normal Heart in New York. Today I add to the site the pictures of the press conference of that day.
I’ve made a massive additions of the photocall and premiere event at Cannes. Enjoy them!
The first pictures of the premiere are out. Enjoy them in our gallery!
Hi, my name is Claudia and I am going to help Liz here at MRC to keep up updated at best we can. To start I’ve added to the gallery in HQ pictures of Mark at Cannes to promote his new movie Foxcatcher. Tonight it’ll surely be the premiere of the movie so more pictures will come in. These cover the photocall and press conference for it. Enjoy!
Fresh off the plane from a film shoot in London, the down-to-earth Ruffalo took time from his frantic schedule to call Gay City News as he was rushing to a press event, with his three kids in tow. The agile, 46-year-old actor, who has tackled everything from the aimless drifter in “You Can Count On Me” to the Hulk in “The Avengers” blockbuster, is something of an activist himself, taking up the anti-fracking cause in upstate New York.
Our chat started out calmly enough, but before long Ruffalo became animated, if not downright fervent. Clearly Larry Kramer has seeped into his soul.
DAVID KENNERLEY: The film was so incredibly moving I was trembling. And your performance was the perfect mix of rage and sensitivity.
MARK RUFFALO: Thanks, I appreciate that, because I think it’s a good reflection of who Larry is. It’s important for people to see not only the anger but also the caring.
DK: What drew you to the role?
MR: It’s such an important time that few know much about, and I was honored to be part of that. It’s just such a great role. I’ve always loved the play and was excited to work with Ryan and expand it using the medium of film. I found myself afraid of the role and that usually means it’s worth doing.
DK: What were you afraid of?
MR: First off, I’m not used to handling that much language. Coming from a play, it’s very stylized, which is very different from most films. [Ned Weeks] is probably one of the most beloved characters in modern theatrical history and in modern gay history. And I’m straight. He has a deep center and I was worried that I wouldn’t get there, that I’d let a lot of people down.
DK: How would you characterize Ned Weeks?
MR: He is an incredibly intelligent, caring, righteous man with an incredible sense of self worth, unusual in a gay culture filled with shame. He was ahead of his time because he identified with other things besides his sexuality. He sees this outrageous injustice, becomes obsessed, and is not afraid of a battle. Ultimately, he’s looking for a connection to people in a profound way.