'Foxcatcher' Subject Mark Schultz Lashes Out at Director Bennett Miller

Scott Garfield
Channing Tatum, left, plays Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz in Sony Pictures Classics' 'Foxcatcher'

The former Olympic wrestler says Miller "crossed the line" in the film's portrayal of him

One of the real-life subjects of Sony Pictures Classics’ Oscar hopeful wrestling drama Foxcatcher is unhappy with director Bennett Miller’s portrayal of his character, and he wants the world to know it.

Mark Schultz, a gold medal-winning Olympic wrestler, took to Twitter and Facebook to fact-check the script and rant about Miller and the film on Tuesday and Wednesday, calling the director a “punk,” “pussy” and “liar” and threatening his career. Schultz had previously indicated his support for the film through various Twitter and Facebook posts, at one point changing his Facebook picture to a photo of him with Miller at the movie's Cannes premiere. Channing Tatum plays Schultz in the movie, which has been nominated for Golden Globe, SAG and Critics' Choice awards.

Read more How the Media Covered The Real Events That Inspired 'Foxcatcher'

Schultz was particularly angered by critics’ references to an undercurrent of homosexuality in the film’s portrayal of his relationship with his coach, millionaire John du Pont, played by Steve Carell. In his fact-checking rant on Facebook, Schultz emphasized he didn’t have a close relationship with du Pont and called any reference to a sexual connection “insulting” and “jeopardizing my legacy.”

“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," Schultz wrote on Facebook.

"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,” he wrote.

On Thursday, he said he did not regret the comments.

"My story and my life are real. I am a real human being," Schultz wrote on Facebook. While I may have tweeted out of anger, I in no way regret standing up for myself, nor do I regret calling out the only other man who has had decision making power concerning my image and legacy these past years. I apologize for the harshness of my language, but I am firm in where I stand. I will gladly go to any lengths to protect and safeguard the integrity and truth of my story, my life, my character and my legacy. If that's not worth fighting over while I'm still alive, I don't know what is."

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The backlash might come as a surprise to Tatum, who told The Hollywood Reporter during an actors’ roundtable in early December that Schultz helped him shape his portrayal of the wrestler.

“He was completely and utterly free and open with me, as far as I could tell,” Tatum said. “There was nothing that was off-limits. I could ask him any question.”

Reps for Sony Pictures Classics, Miller and Tatum have not yet responded to The Hollywood Reporter's requests for comment.

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The film took its title from the Philadelphia estate where du Pont set up a training camp that attracted wrestlers such as Schultz and his brother David, played by Mark Ruffalo.

Schultz's harshest name-calling tweets were later deleted, but many caustic posts remain, including these:

 

 

 

Jan. 1, 1 p.m.: Updated with additional Facebook comment.

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