Tuesday, September 9, 2014

TIFF 2014: Wait a Minute. Is That Steve Carell?

Posted By on Tue, Sep 9, 2014 at 2:22 PM

There's a rumor going around that Steve Carell gives an amazing dramatic performance in Foxcatcher, one of the year's most heavily-anticipated films. But you'll need to double-check the closing credits of Foxcatcher to confirm that, indeed, it's Carell buried deep beneath layers of prosthetics as John duPont—one of the wealthiest men in the United States who committed a brutal but bizarre crime in 1996. If you don't remember the incident, I won't spoil too much here, but if you do remember how duPont went from famous to infamous, you'll still be shocked by this mesmerizing film.

The genius in Foxcatcher is the casting of Carell as duPont. Carell is a wonderful comic actor but enters rarefied space with this intense portrayal, bringing to mind Robin Williams' wonderful dramatic performance in Good Will Hunting.

"I had no intention of vilifying duPont. People have faults. And he certainly did. But I think I ultimately had to have some sense of empathy for him. This story is about his actions, those faults," Carell told Boise Weekly just before Monday's premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. "Not to get all 'actor-y' here, but this was a very complicated and dark story. I was very glad to be a part of the film."

Co-star Channing Tatum, who is also outstanding as Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler Mark Schultz, had particularly high praise for Carell's performance.

"I think people are going to be stunned at how great he is in this," Tatum told BW. "This was a very intense shoot and we were in character practically all the time."

Mark Ruffalo, who plays Schultz's brother Dave (another champion wrestler and trainer), said he used to compete as a wrestler years ago and some of that helped in his own character development.

"Yes, by being a former wrestler, I knew how that could certainly be a lonely and difficult existence," Ruffalo told BW. "But I had one big setback. I'm right-handed and Dave Schultz was left-handed, so I had to unlearn a number of moves and then learn them from the beginning again.|

There's already plenty of Oscar buzz swirling around Foxcatcher, particularly Carell's performance.

"It's a little premature, don't you think? But it's nice to be included in the conversation," said Carell.

Quite interestingly, Carell's former boss, Jon Stewart (Carell used to be a Daily Show correspondent) has also brought a dramatic film to this year's TIFF. Stewart is the director of Rosewater, which BW will screen later this week.

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