Director Bennett Miller is capitalizing on the success of Moneyball to make Foxcatcher happen after several years in development. The dark, captivating premise—based on the life of John du Pont—suggests the project is worth the effort. Steve Carell is attached to star as du Pont, “the heir to the du Pont chemical fortune who, in an apparent fit of paranoid schizophrenia, infamously shot and killed the Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz in 1996.” In casting, Miller and producer Anthony Bregman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) narrowed down the list of actors who could believably portray an Olympic wrestler—sources tell 24 Frames the filmmakers landed on Channing Tatum.
E. Max Frye (Band of Brothers) and Dan Futterman (Capote) wrote the script. Hit the jump for background on du Pont’s story.
24 Frames speculates that Foxcatcher could be Tatum’s big Oscar shot. I like Tatum more than the average person of my gender*, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Tatum’s next few projects won’t necessarily offer insight: there’s the high school comedy 21 Jump Street, the romantic comedy The Vow**, a G.I. Joe sequel. I think the real test of Tatum’s viability as an Academy-approved dramatic actor will come in Magic Mike. More for the Steven Soderbergh element than the stripping subject matter.
Here’s Newsweek‘s account of the murder:
In the 1980s, chemical heir John du Pont builds a state-of-the-art training center on his Foxcatcher estate in Newtown Square, Pa., and attracts world-class wrestlers like 1984 Olympic gold medalist Dave Schultz.
On Jan. 26, 1996, du Pont, then 56, fires three shots with a .38 from the window of his Lincoln Town Car and kills Schultz, 36, a father of two who was coaching and training at Foxcatcher for the Atlanta Olympics. Schultz’s wife, Nancy, one of two witnesses, calls 911. Du Pont barricades himself inside his mansion and tells police surrounding the house to address him as “His Holiness.” Even before the shooting, du Pont was known as an eccentric gun enthusiast who owned an armored personnel carrier and sometimes referred to himself as the Dalai Lama. After two days, du Pont is captured by a SWAT team when he leaves his house to fix a heating-system boiler that police had turned off to try to freeze him out. Thirteen months after Schultz died, du Pont is found guilty of third-degree murder but was deemed mentally ill and is sentenced to 13 to 30 years in prison.
**Although, wow, just noticed Friday Night Lights/Parenthood superstar Jason Katims is a credited writer on The Vow. Admittedly, one of four—but still.