Word was that Sony Pictures Classics was releasing “Foxcatcher,” Bennett Miller’s follow-up to Sony/Columbia’s Best Picture nominee “Moneyball,” and so it turns out to be. SPC will open the film for Oscar consideration on December 20: it will not be finished in time for the fall festival circuit. Sony’s Columbia Pictures co-financed the film with Annapurna Pictures’ Megan Ellison (Sony’s “Zero Dark Thirty”), who produced the film with Anthony Bregman (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”).
Ellison–who also backed Weinstein Co. releases “The Master,” “Lawless,” “Killing Them Softly” and Wong Kar-Wai’s upcoming “The Grandmaster”–made a multi-picture deal with Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal that also included Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty” and David O. Russell’s December Sony release “American Hustle,” but SPC was always planning to release “Foxcatcher.”
Based on a true 1996 murder case that Miller has been developing as a film since 2005, the film stars Channing Tatum, who has been on a roll lately, as Mark Schultz and a dark-bearded Mark Ruffalo as his brother David. Both are Olympic Wrestling Champions who visit John du Pont (Steve Carell), a multimillionaire and paranoid schizophrenic who has erected a wrestling training facility named Foxcatcher on his personal estate in Pennsylvania. In 1996, Du Pont was accused of murdering one of his wrestlers, whom he was convinced was part of a conspiracy to kill him.
“Foxcatcher” also stars Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave and Anthony Michael Hall. The screenplay is by E. Max Frye (“Something Wild”) and Dan Futterman (“Capote”). The film was shot by “Zero Dark Thirty” cinematographer Greig Fraser; production design is by Jess Gonchor, who worked with Miller on “Moneyball” and “Capote” and the Coens on “No Country for Old Men” and “True Grit.” Editors are Stuart Levy, who worked a lot with Oliver Stone (“Savages,” “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”) and Conor O’Neill (“Capitalism: A Love Story”).
SPC’s Michael Barker and Tom Bernard had “pursued the project the minute we heard Bennett wanted to make it,” they said. Miller had long hoped that SPC would distribute the film, he said, as they had released Miller’s “Capote,” which earned Philip Seymour Hoffman the Oscar for Best Actor.
SPC recently scooped up another big Sony title, Alex Gibney’s doc about Lance Armstrong, “The Armstrong Lie,” which is hitting the fall festival circuit.