Steve Carell and Channing Tatum are no strangers to the worlds of comedy and drama. The men have been able to mix up their portfolios with a healthy mixture of both, but a slight imbalance leaning towards the comedic side. Most audiences see Tatum as an ass kicker and Carell as a funny guy, but both can still impress without explosions or punch lines. Yet I don't think I've been as impressed with either of them as I am in the first clip from Bennett Miller's delayed true crime picture, Foxcatcher.
Yahoo showed the first clip, which looks to be the first meeting between John duPont (Carell) and Mark Schultz (Tatum). This meeting would be the catalyst of DuPont's formation of the Foxcatcher Farm, which would house his stable of horses as well as a training facility for wrestlers. Of course, this would all be cut short in 1997, after DuPont was found guilty for murdering Schultz's brother.
The first thing I noticed in this clip is that Steve Carell has undertaken a huge physical change for the role. He's aged up, gained weight, and even carries himself like a member of the Southern elite. What's most impressive is not how closely he mirrors the actual DuPont's image (as seen in the photo below), but how he restrains himself with his performance. This role could easily devolve into comedy, and Channing Tatum must have had a hell of a time keeping his laughter in check while filming it. Seeing someone like Carell in this sort of get up is usually a source of laughter, but his performance grounds the moment in an unsettling grey area.
As for Channing Tatum's performance, we've got a glimpse of someone who's not sure why this man wants to see him or what his intent is. He's a hard nut to crack at first, but somehow Carell's DuPont gets him to come around and contribute to the conversation. Through the camaraderie of sports, these men will become associates. For Schultz, this moment is a tipping point in his life, and it promises to be a focal point to the plot of Foxcatcher.
Also starring Mark Ruffalo, the film was pushed from last December's release date to make way in an already crowded awards season. Seeing as Sony was pushing American Hustle as its awards contender at that point, this seemed like a smart move. Looking back, they probably should have pushed this film instead and bumped David O. Russell's picture into a later slot. While American Hustle was a pretty good movie, the first look we've been given into Foxcatcher looks infinitely more compelling.
Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher, starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, will be released into theaters on November 14, 2014.