The forthcoming film, Foxcatcher, may mark the single most important portrayal of Olympic style wrestling ever on film. Slated for a November 14 release, has already garnered critical buzz, and features a star-studded cast including Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum, as well as direction from Moneyball's Bennett Miller.
Recently, The Examiner's wrestling writer Mark Palmer aggregated reports on film star Tatum's experiences preparing for his role as Olympic champion wrestler Mark Schultz. Of particular interest is his interview with Vulture.com where he discusses spending hours a day in makeup having prosthetic cauliflower ear attached to the sides of his head, as well as the intensity of his training in the leadup to filming.
"[In] wrestling, there's sort of a saying that you have to be very comfortable being uncomfortable," Tatum told Vulture.com. "Because everything is a struggle and a fight and if you're getting choked you have to understand when, like, you're gonna die, like literally you're about to go out, or does this just suck? Does this just suck right now and are you gonna be able to live through this and be able to be in control of the pain and all that? And that's what I think this movie is. Like everyone is just trying to deal and be comfortable, while being so unbelievably uncomfortable."
Tatum added, "Wrestling, it's an intimate thing, even though it's super violent. You have to be comfortable being basically naked and wrestling. It's weird. From an outsider's perspective it looks very homosexual. I've gotten that a lot. And I always say, 'Come on and try it out. You'll see how non homosexual that is.' And I don't know what that's like, even. But I can't imagine it's very much like that. It's too painful. It's chess, but a violent chess." [via Examiner.com and Vulture.com]
Foxcatcher tells the true story of the relationship between the murdering madman/wrestling benefactor John du Pont and World/Olympic Champion brothers Mark and Dave Schultz, a relationship which culminated with Dave Schultz's death at the hands of du Pont in the lead up to the 1996 Olympics. A teaser trailer appears below.
While the cast of the film includes notable Hollywood Stars, it also features a number of very accomplished wrestlers. Examiner.com's Mark Palmer has provided a helpful list of these as well; a list I am re-collating below.
American University All-American Muzaffar Abdurakhmanov plays Necmi Gencalp, a Turkish wrestler.
Ohio State All-American J.D. Bergman plays an undetermined role.
Penn State All-American, Olympian and E-Mail marketing ace Ken Chertow plays a Bulgarian coach.
Pitt National Champ Keith Gavin plays a Bulgarian wrestler
Northwestern National Champ, World silver medalist and Olympian Jake Herbert plays Mike Sheets.
Ohio State All-American Reece Humphrey plays an undetermined role.
Oklahoma State All-American Tyrone Lewis plays a Canadian wrestler.
Syracuse National Cham, Olympian and cold blooded killer of men on the mat Gene Mills plays a referee.
U of Penn All-American Yoshi Nakamura plays a Japanese wrestler.
Ohio State All-American Mike Pucillo plays an undetermined wrestler.
Lehigh National Champ Zach Rey plays an undetermined wrestler.
Penn State All-American James Yonushonis plays Rico Chiapparelli
Iowa State National Champ David Zabriskie plays a fictional wrestler named Dan Bane.
Also, on Twitter yesterday, Olympian Andy Hrovat said that he played the Turk whose arm was broken by Mark Schultz in the 1984 Olympics.
I've determined that Hrovat's arm wasn't broken (he's done competing, it's not like he needs it) but I haven't gotten official confirmation if he plays this role in the movie. For your viewing pleasure, actual footage of the aforementioned arm break appears below.