Toronto: Steve Carell on Playing a Killer Without Comedy in 'Foxcatcher'
"I was off-putting. I was someone you didn't want to be with."
Hollywood funnyman Steve Carell didn't transform himself into a killer in Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher as part of a high-profile turn into dramatic acting.
"I didn't take the part in order to show a side of me, or an ability to do something. I was just intrigued by the story and working with Bennett," Carell told the Foxcatcher press conference at the Toronto Film Festival ahead of a gala screening on Tuesday night. The icy wrestling drama sees the comic actor transformed into the wealthy and twisted John du Pont, who hosted wrestlers on his Foxcatcher estate and murdered Olympic gold medalist David Schultz.
Miller, who earned the Cannes best director prize for Foxcatcher, said he cast Carell as his lead precisely for his comedy chops. "I'm attracted to comic actors, and there's a history of comic actors being incredible in dramatic roles," Miller said. "There's always a sharp aspect to their troubled psyches that the world rarely gets to see," he added.
Carell revealed that his makeup transformation to play du Pont, which took three hours to complete each day, helped him get into the mind of the paranoid schizophrenic millionaire. "I was off-putting. I was someone you didn't want to be with," Carell said of his on-set relations with castmembers like Channing Tatum, who plays the role of David Schultz, Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave and Sienna Miller.
The actor told the Toronto media that he approaches dramatic movie roles in much the same way that he does his comedic performances. "You look at the character and their relationships and try to ground it. … I don't think one is easier or harder than the other. They are different, but the approach is similar," he said.
The Toronto Film Festival runs through Sept. 14.