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Mark Schultz Turns Against ‘Foxcatcher’ In Social Media Meltdown, Says The Film Is “Primarily Fiction”

Mark Schultz Turns Against ‘Foxcatcher’ In Social Media Meltdown, Says The Film Is "Primarily Fiction"

In case you’re unaware, Bennett Miller’s critically acclaimed “Foxcatcher”— which came in at number three on our 20 Best Films Of 2014 staff poll list — is based on a true story. It’s about the Olympic championship wrestlers Mark and David Schultz, and the wealthy philanthropist and heir John du Pont who took the athletes under his wing, before it all lead to a tragic finale. Steve Carell (who plays DuPont), Channing Tatum and Marc Ruffalo are absolutely terrific in the movie. In fact for our money, while Carell and Ruffalo are solid in the movie, its Tatum as the younger Mark Schultz who is a revelation; it’s easily his greatest performance to date. Rendered as insecure and struggling with self-worth, Tatum shoulders this baggage astonishingly and you feel every inch of wrestler Mark Schultz’s uncertainty, self-doubt, and anger.

As for the real Mark Schultz, he’s been an avid supporter of the film since Cannes where Miller won the Best Directing prize — just go through his Twitter feed back even a few weeks, let alone months for evidence. But that narrative has greatly shifted. In a long (it must be said homophobic-sounding) rant on Facebook, Schultz railed against the film, and mostly because of what seems like the opinion of a few critics who have read into the film some sort of gay subtext between the Mark Schultz and John DuPont. Of course, Schultz’s Facebook rant has been cleaned up and edited, but here’s the original version:

I was already an Olympic and WORLD Champion before I met du Pont. The director took my 1985 World Title away in the film. I was not emotionally fragile as critics suggest. I didn’t move to Pennsylvania to wrestle for Foxcatcher. I took an assistant coaching job at Villanova. I never looked up to duPont as a mentor, leader, father figure. He was a lot dirtier the first time I met him and he was drunk. He told me he would have nothing to do with Villanova which was the only reason I went there. du Pont was a repulsive sickening freak. I could barely stand looking at him. I never touched him except for a photo at the hall of fame and when I threw him in a headlock for a documentary. I never showed him any moves or taught him anything about wrestling. I never coached him in a wrestling match. I never read any speech he gave me. I never dyed my hair. Dave was my older brother, not a father-figure. After I won the NCAA’s and Dave took 2nd, Dave started asking me about technique and calling himself Mark Schultz’s brother. I was a 3x NCAA Champion. Dave won once. After 1986 I started beating Dave in practice consistently. I never worked out in the new wrestling complex duPont built in the film. If du Pont ever slapped me I’d have knocked his head off. I never wrestled after Dave moved onto Foxcatcher Farms. I was doing Jiu-Jitsu at BYU. Dave was never a head coach anywhere. I was a Division I University Head Coach for 6 years. Dave was intelligent but no more than me. Just coz I wasn’t filling the silence with superfluous noise all the time doesn’t mean I was inarticulate. I earned a masters degree with a 3.6 gpa. I’m a corporate speaker and life coach. The movie doesn’t show hardly any of my victories. It focuses on only my losses. The personalities and relationships between the characters in the film are primarily fiction and somewhat insulting. Leaving the audience with a feeling that somehow there could have been a sexual relationship between duPont 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.

The part in bold at the end of the original harangue is gone and now replaced with this:

The movie doesn’t show hardly any of my victories. It focuses on my losses. The personalities and relationships between the characters in the film are primarily fiction and, although Channing is outstanding, the personality is not accurate. However, I think Channing played me the only way it was possible to play me due to the confines of the director’s vision.

So if Mark Schultz was threatening a press conference, it appears he’s not anymore. And it really does seem like the Olympian is stuck on a few critical interpretations of his sexuality in the movie (which is not one this writer shares or any other writer on this site I’ve heard of; we’d argue it’s a complex relationship that has father figure-like problems to it, mixed with emotional dependency and manipulation). Schultz then followed the Facebook bluster with an tirade on Twitter that he has since deleted (you can see it all below).

Meanwhile, in an interview in November with AXS TV (via Rope Of Silicon), Schultz is asked, “Would you say the movie is very close to what actually happened?" He responds: "Yes, I would… The director is a genius. He is a master filmmaker. It’s like he was able to condense everything down and compress everything down, and he used fictional, narrative techniques to get to the heart and truth of the story."

Now Schultz alleges that he was coached into his comments. “I’m also under contract to support the movie until the oscars. After that I’m going to tell the truth to @katiecouric,” he wrote four days ago. Schultz has since apologized for his Twitter outburst, but does not "regret standing up for" himself.

Perhaps more troublesome, as Schultz now disavows “Foxcatcher” and essentially turns his back on the opinion he held of the movie a few months ago (at least publicly), his top pinned tweets (and several other tweets along his timeline) are now promoting his new book, “Foxcatcher: The True Story of My Brother’s Murder, John du Pont’s Madness, and the Quest for Olympic Gold” published on November 18, 2014. The timing of it seems rather convenient, especially as Oscar ballots just went out to Academy members last week. Thoughts? Weigh in below. [Original Tweets captured by HitFix]

Update: Mark Schultz has apologized for the "harshness of my language," but stands by this assessment of "Foxcatcher." Here’s what he had to say on Facebook:


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Doug Mayfield

I presume he cashed a check for the rights to his story. If so, he signed away his right to complain. If not, why isn’t he suing them?


There has never, ever been a hollywood movie – ‘based on a true story’ – that’s been accurate. It’s a shame that the artistic license is another word for deception. Don’t expect much truth in ‘Unbroken’. Have never seen much truth in an ‘based on true story’ BS hook.


does not make me want to participate commercially in this mess. Movie ticket unsold. Book? fuggedaboutit.


Soooo… Fiction? (Shrugs shoulders.) Great job by the cast… Don’t have a crystal ball, so I don’t intend to weigh in on who’s right or wrong, I will say that the story was a colorful one… True or not… It got me thinking about how we’re all human and sometimes helpless to our own perceptions.

I feel bad for all of the non fictional names attached to this… What do you even say?

gerard kennelly

Selma will win best picture Selma will win best actor streep will win best supp actress and Selma will win best director


    Seems you’re a bit confused & horribly late with your predictions…. Maybe if you wrote that comment 2 years ago, someone could take you seriously…. This has been over for awhile now sweetie….. It’s 2016…. Lol! Btw, if u were trying to make a joke, it didn’t work either…. The entire comment is weird as hell….


So Mark, now I should buy your book right?

Dennis Harvey

After making two films about intelligent real people, I bet Bennett Miller will hesitate the next time he thinks about making one about a stupid real person. "Foxcatcher" is a terrific but very unpleasant movie that’s already having a tough time getting awards; now it’s got this angry idiot running around undermining its chances further because he’s insufficiently flattered by how it portrays him. Of course, his own current behavior is unflattering, too, but he doesn’t have the grey matter to realize that.


    What do you mean “Having a hard time getting awards”? Award season for this film was over long ago…… Smh!


How were his comments remotely homophobic? He said the insinuation he was having sexual relations with a man he despised were sickening. I think he would feel the exact same way if it was a woman. This article is horrendous.


i’m at odds with Foxcatcher. While it is par the course for biopics to take liberal digressions, the screenwriters of this one seem to have had a particular story in mind and did not let trivial things like factual occurrences get in the way of that. There was a great story to tell here and I think the filmmakers misfired trumping up the fictional angles rather than stay true to the book, and lives, which it was based.


Mark Schultz put his name to this film by being an associate producer, how dare he betray this film and makers of it following its release. he’s a coward for not voicing any concerns when the film was being made and instead throwing a tantrum on social media like the immature child that he truly is


Jesus. Spoiler alert on the interview FFS.


(I’ve already posted a comment on another post similar to this one) Remember Kim Novak on The Artist’s use of music from Vertigo? In other words, welcome to awards season lady’s and gentlemen! The biggest shit throwing storm in the entertainment industry.

Edward D

If he’s under contract how is he despairing the film? Doubtful that "under contract" is true and I’m sure that’s going to come to light soon.


He says he is under contract to support the film until the Oscars, so retracting negative comments doesn’t mean he has changed his mind.


yikes. this is blue is the warmest color all over again, except this time it’s a real person involved. or could be all for publicity again. maybe ranting was part of the contract.


Miller’s depiction of how emotionally destroyed Schultz was after his relationship with DuPont seems to be pretty spot on after reading these extremely angry and insecure comments.

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