Foxcatcher has been out for seven weeks, but former Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz apparently just watched it this week, because he's furious with director Bennett Miller over the implications that Schultz had some sort of sexual relationship with insane, murderous billionaire John du Pont.
If you've seen Foxcatcher, you might remember a scene where Steve Carell's du Pont wakes up Channing Tatum's Schultz so he can practice wrestling on a mat in his mansion. The camera cuts to a tight shot of Tatum's burned-out face as du Pont grunts while struggling with a move, and the subtext is obvious.
Schultz mentioned this scene in particular in a Facebook post on Dec. 27 (emphasis mine):
Keep this in mind. The story is mine but I didn't write the final version of the book #Foxcatcher. Highly acclaimed sports writer Dave Thomas did. I wrote the previous versions including the one used by Academy Award Nominated Director Bennett Miller who got my first version. I took a picture of the story boards in Bennett's apartment in 2012. It was flattering so many scenes were based on scenes from my book but the relationships and personalities are a little off. I was surprised to see just how many 3x5 cards were ordered on the board with short descriptions of scenes taken out of my book. It seemed to me almost every scene had my name on it. I don't know where the night library scene came from. When I asked Bennett to take it out he refused saying he needed a scene showing duPont's increasingly invasive encroachment upon my privacy and personal space. Wasn't like I could do anything anyway.
On Dec. 31, Schultz apparently did try to do something about it: yelling on Twitter. (He deleted the tweets.)
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He put up more coherent complaints on his Facebook page, disputing specific details from the movie:
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 and I loved him more than anything. He protected me but he was hard on me. I wouldn't call him a father figure. I have a great father who I got separated from in a divorce. After I won the NCAA's and Dave took 2nd, Dave started asking me about my technique and of course I taught him. He went around the 1983 NCAA's calling himself "Mark Schultz's brother". haha. I was a 3x NCAA Champion. Dave won one. In 1984 I was better at collegiate style . Dave was better in Freestyle. Screen writer Dan Futterman said in an interview "Mark could never ever beat Dave". That was true in freestyle until 1985 when I won the 1985 Worlds and beat the 1985 world champion at the weight above me. In 1986 I started getting the upper hand on Dave in freestyle. I never worked out in the new wrestling complex duPont built in 1989. I quit wrestling after losing in the 1988 Olympics and left the farm. Dave moved onto Foxcatcher Farms in 1989. In 1991 I became the assistant coach at BYU. I became a Jiu-Jitsu fighter in 1993 after a match with Rickson Gracie. I became the BYU Head Coach in 1994 until 2000. Dave was never a university head coach like the movie portrays. Dave was very technical but so was I. I didn't talk as much as Dave but I was very articulate. My father was a college english professor. We grew up listening to an intellectual. My grandparents were also very intelligent. In 1997 I earned a masters degree at BYU with a 3.6 gpa. Now I'm a corporate speaker and life coach. 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.
Is anyone but the subject ever shocked at Hollywood's embellishment of details? At least Schultz was willing to give Tatum credit in his role, declaring the actor deserves an Oscar nomination.