Tuesday, November 4, 2014

'Foxcatcher' Gets Philadelphia Premiere

(From L) Director Bennett Miller, Nancy Schultz and Anthony Michael Hall at the red carpet premiere of "Foxcatcher" at the Prince Music Theater.
It was a red carpet affair for the Philadelphia premiere of the film “Foxcatcher” Monday night.
The Prince Music Theater hosted the premiere of the award-winning film, with director Bennett Miller and star Anthony Michael Hall in attendance.

Set primarily in Delaware County, “Foxcatcher” is the story of millionaire John du Pont, played by Steve Carell, and his relationships with Olympic wrestling athletes Mark (Channing Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) as they prepare for the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games on du Pont’s Newtown Square estate.

The triangular story of power turned fatal when du Pont shot and killed Dave at his house on the estate on Jan. 26, 1996. Du Pont was convicted of third degree murder but mentally ill, and died in prison in 2010.

“This whole adventure began about eight years ago when a stranger approached me at an event in a store and handed me an envelope that contained newspaper clippings I was, somehow, not familiar with. Immediately I knew I was going to make this film,” said Miller at the premiere.

Bennett Miller
Miller worked with screenwriters Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye to bring the story to the screen. Months of research went into the high profile story of a killer millionaire and his connection to the wrestling world, reaching out to wrestlers who trained at Foxcatcher and police who were involved in the intense two-day standoff following Schultz’s murder.

Much of the story was taken from an upcoming book by Mark Schultz called “Foxcatcher”, which details his life at the estate and the murder of his brother.

Praise for the film was immediate with its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May, winning the best director award. “Foxcatcher” then went on to more praise at the Toronto International, Telluride and New York film festivals before coming to Philadelphia.

Nancy Schultz, Dave’s widow, was also at the premiere and said she had some hesitation with bringing this story to the big screen.  

“When you say ‘based on a true story’ you can do a lot of things with that,” she said. “The first time I got to the set I knew (Miller) was going to do this right… I’ve been revisiting this story for a long time, but I have to say Bennett Miller took so much time to make this film realistic.

“The Foxcatcher wrestling room is exactly the Foxcatcher wrestling room, our home is our home down to the pictures on the walls.”

Nancy, Dave and their two children moved on to the Foxcatcher estate in the late-‘80s to train for the
Anthony Michael Hall and his fiance.
Olympics. On numerous occasions they were subjected to du Pont’s eccentricities.

In the film, Ruffalo’s portrayal of the soft-mannered Dave counteracts Carell’s interpretation of the unstable, and sometimes powerless, du Pont, both actors receiving praise from Schultz.

“Steve Carell just put this character in his soul and lived with it for several weeks of filming.. and Mark Ruffalo just honored Dave’s persona in so many ways. It was exact. The way he walks, the way he touches his beard, it was beautiful,” said Schultz. “I’m really happy that Bennett Miller took the time to present the movie in such a manner.”

While “Foxcatcher” focuses on Mark’s story, a documentary is in the works about Dave Schultz that will tell his story, using interviews from friends and teammates and focusing more on his death.

“Foxcatcher” opens nationwide Nov. 21.

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