Channing Tatum, Steve Carell on 'Foxcatcher' Genre Jump: "People Think That Doing Drama Is Fine Art"

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Channing Tatum and Steve Carell

"I know a lot of people who can't do what Steve Carell or Jonah [Hill] or some of these other comedic actors can do, because they can do this as well"

Foxcatcher features starkly dramatic turns by two actors who have shined under the comedy spotlight, but picking a project with a more serious tone wasn't necessarily the priority for all of its stars.

"I don't think about it like that — I think, find the things that you really want to challenge yourself with, whatever it is," Channing Tatum told The Hollywood Reporter at a screening at New York City's Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday night. "If it's comedy, then do that. Comedy is just as hard as doing this. I think people think that doing drama is this fine art or something, and I know a lot of people who can't do what Steve Carell or Jonah [Hill] or some of these other comedic actors can do, because they can do this as well."

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Still, to facilitate the genre jump, Carell advised, "Try to work with someone like Bennett Miller, because he knows what he's doing!"

Directed by Miller — whom Sony Pictures Classics co-president Tom Bernard compared to "Milos Forman, he's never satisfied unless he's tried every option" — the sports drama called for a set that "wasn't a place for a lot of small talk, and we all thought it was best if we left each other alone that way," Carell recalled of portraying troubled benefactor John du Pont. Tatum, playing Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz, added of shooting, "We all were very, very much there for each other. It was really about us coming in every day and just holding the energy of these men and of what happened. It's a serious movie. People die. Families have to move on with their lives after this."

Despite that somber tone on set, when it comes to the festival circuit and the press tours, Carell happily told THR that "they are so full of joy and fun and silly, and they're great guys," and Tatum echoed, "We laugh, and we can sort of let go of it all." And what of Mark Ruffalo, who portrayed Mark's older brother, Dave Schultz? "Mark Ruffalo is not one to be messed with!" Tatum told reporters, laughing. "I know he's cute and cuddly Mark Ruffalo in every other movie, but not in this one, and not in real life, I can guarantee you. Don’t mess with the Ruff!"

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The lighthearted mood on the red carpet before the screening — which was hosted by The Cinema Society with Details, Brooks Brothers and Patron and was followed by a bash at the Top of the Standard, drawing castmember Anthony Michael Hall, producers Megan Ellison and Jon Kilik, and Sony Pictures Classics co-presidents Michael Barker, as well as Ang Lee, Colin Firth, Patrick Wilson, Aaron Sorkin, John Corbett, Bo Derek, John Cameron Mitchell, Mary-Kate Olsen and Olivier Sarkozy, Ashley Olsen, Haley Joel Osment, Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti, Prabal GurungZac Posen and Nicole Miller, among many others — was appropriate to celebrate the tragic drama, according to Vanessa Redgrave.

"When I saw the film, I was totally amazed at the level of this film," praised the actress, who appears onscreen as du Pont's mother. "He's achieved something that I have never seen before, I have to say — certainly not recently, that to me is groundbreaking in its depth and in the skill of filmmaking. I haven't seen anything like this since the 1960s, when I saw the films my first husband [Tony Richardson] made!"

Foxcatcher hits theaters Nov. 14.

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