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Video: Bennett Miller and the ‘Foxcatcher’ Cast Discuss Adapting a True Story for the Screen

There’s already Oscar buzz around Bennett Miller’s newest work, and rightfully so. Foxcatcher, with a theatrical release date set for mid-November, tells the story of John du Pont, a billionaire that recruited wrestling brothers Dave and Mark Schultz to train on his Pennsylvania estate in the hopes of fostering a champion U.S. Olympic wrestling team. Following a pre-screening of the film, director Bennett Miller and actors Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave, Sienna Miller, and Anthony Michael Hall joined the Film Society’s Gavin Smith in conversation about adapting the disturbing, yet true, story into the acclaimed film.

“It was one of these things, the more you look at it the more it speaks to you, and all of the themes within it: class, wealth, entitlement. All of these things getting concentrated into what is essentially a compelling very small story,” said Bennett Miller, who received the Cannes Best Director Award for the film last May.

In addition to Miller’s already award-winning direction, much of the film’s praise has come from the performances by the lead cast, in particular for Steve Carell, who wore a prosthetic nose for the duration of the film to further resemble his character. “Du Pont had a very specific look to him and I can’t help but think his look had an effect on the people around him,” said Carell, “and people responded to him, in part, because he looked a certain way. So that’s why we proceeded to try and emulate his real look.”

“We have a lightning-fast impulse to look at a story and conclude ‘this is this’ and turn it out for consumption and find the next thing that gives you that little fix,” the director said of his approach to the film. “Living in a world with so much noise and so many stories and so many things, I do have a tendency to just want to grab something as it’s flying through, and sit down, and really love it, to really pour a ton of care into something that’s otherwise receding into the recesses of memory with tiny little bits of evidence that I think are inconsiderate to the lives involved.”

Foxcatcher screens as part of the NYFF Main Slate on October 10 and 11.

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