Steve Carell talks about tapping his troubled psyche in psycho-thriller Foxcatcher
God, it’s about time someone cast Channing Tatum in some kind of strong-guy role, right? In the highly buzzy Foxcatcher, Tatum plays an Olympic wrestler enlisted by an eccentric, intensely patriotic millionaire (Steve Carell) to head a new wrestling team for the Seoul Olympics in 1988. At Monday’s press conference, Tatum, Carell, director Bennett Miller (Moneyball) and co-stars Mark Ruffalo and Vanessa Redgrave were all on deck to talk about the film, with a focus on funnyman Carell’s uncharacteristically serious turn as John du Pont, the real-life super-rich sports enthusiast about whom the film was made.
“Steve is not as intelligent as people think he is,” Miller joked, when asked why he approached the actor, “and doesn’t have much talent.” After the laughs subsided, Miller responded more seriously. “There’s a history of comic actors being amazing in dramatic roles. There’s always a very sharp aspect to their troubled psyches that the world rarely gets to see.”
“I didn’t take the role to prove anything,” said Carell. “But it is exciting to take on things that aren’t necessarily in your wheelhouse…Bennett fostered an environment where we had the freedom to fail, and he would catch us if we went astray.”
When asked about how Foxcatcher explores “the dark side” of patriotism in America, Ruffalo jumped in. “It’s an ideology that puts certain values above the value of a human being,” he said. “That’s very much in this movie.”