SPOILER ALERT: The following article contains light spoilers for Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher. If you haven't seen the film and don't wish to be spoiled, please click over to another one of our wonderful articles.
Anyone who has seen Bennett Miller's spectacular drama Foxcatcher will agree that the relationship between Channing Tatum's Mark Schultz and Steve Carrell's John du Pont is... complicated. As a rather emotionally weak, fragile person in search of a father figure, Schultz finds himself in a largely subservient position with his coach; and John uses his relationship with wrestler so that he can feel some semblance of power after a lifetime of being dressed down by his cold, stoic mother. It's a bond that makes for stirring and intense drama - but it turns out that the real Mark Schultz is pissed off by what has been perceived as homosexual undertones.
We've already been seeing Schutlz in headlines this week thanks to a Twitter tirade that he has gone on attacking director Bennett Miller, but Deadline has picked up on a since-deleted message from his personal Facebook page that expressed his displeasure with any implication in the movie that his personal relationship with John du Pont was at all sexual. He wrote:
"Leaving the audience with a feeling that somehow there could have been a sexual relationship between du Pont and I is a sickening and insulting lie. I told Bennett Miller to cut that scene out and he said it was to give the audience the feeling that duPont was encroaching on your privacy and personal space. I wasn’t explicit so I didn’t have a problem with it. Then after reading 3 or 4 reviews interpreting it sexually, and jeopardizing my legacy, they need to have a press conference to clear the air, or I will."
It's not entirely clear exactly which scene in particular that Mark Schultz is referring to here, but our best guess would be that it's a reference to the flash forward that finds Channing Tatum's Mark sporting blond tips and sitting on a porch with Steve Carrell's John and snorting cocaine. That is, however, just a guess.
Having seen and really loved Foxcatcher, I'm not really sure I agree with this interpretation of Schultz and du Pont's relationship in the film. As noted above, the film is in many ways all about power dynamics and control - and not just between Tatum and Carrell, as Mark Ruffalo's Dave Schultz plays a key role as well. As Miller explained to Schultz, John inappropriately touching Mark is more of John further extending his controlling grasp - which is also why he had Mark come live on Foxcatcher Farms, and why he would randomly show up in the middle of the night at Mark's cottage unannounced. While I possibly could see why some may think that there is a homosexual level to it as well, I don't think that it's actually there.
For those who have seen the film, do you think there is an implied sexual relationship between Mark Schultz and John du Pont? Tell us what you think in the comments below.