Foxcatcher, the new Olympic wrestling themed film starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, premiered at Cannes yesterday to rave reviews. Most of those reviews revolve around the acting, and while I’ve always enjoyed Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum, I’d like to focus on Steve Carell. The first look trailer above (a longer version was leaked months ago but the studio took it down) gives us a small glimpse into the film and it’s three main characters. Carell looks haunting, and unrecognizable, as John Du Pont, the millionaire heir to the Du Pont family fortune who used his vast amounts of money to train Olympic wrestlers trying to make their way to the top. Carell’s performance is already getting Oscar buzz, but I’ll leave that for the actual critics to bicker over. I’m excited that Steve Carell was given the opportunity to step out of his comedy shadow and transform into the bad guy. Carell was magical as Michael Scott in The Office. Magical might not even be a strong enough word to express just how great I thought he was. Michael Scott was a character, yes, but he had a very human side to him, and any of us unlucky enough to be employed in Cube Life have come across a Michael Scott at some point or another. I think Steve Carrel always had this kind of performance in him, but he wasn’t given a chance to show it until now. It’s tough to blame writers, directors or movie studios: he’s a comedic gem who always delivers, whether he’s the oddball boss, or the lovable, albeit slow weatherman, or even the 40 year old virgin. When the director of the movie, Bennett Miller, was asked why he chose Carell, his answer was perfect:
Miller said after he met Carell and discussed the part, he knew he had found his Du Pont. “[This] obviously doesn’t resemble anything he has done before,” Miller said. “I asked Steve if he could imagine what life would really be like if he did not have the relief of a sense of humor. Not just being funny but to see humor in things.”
Carell went “to a dark place,” Miller said, adding that he thinks all comedians are dark. “I just thought, he could do it.” (WSJ)
The talent has always been there, and come November, I have a feeling a lot of people are going to be happy the opportunity finally came too.