Steve Carell Interview: Foxcatcher
Context: The main purpose of this interview was to understand the role of Steve Carell in the movie Foxcatcher because this was one of his first roles where he isn’t seen as a comedic character. His role was quite the opposite of the laughing stock of the movie. Carell plays the part of John Du Pont, who was an American philanthropist and heir to the Du Pont family fortune. The Du Pont family earned their wealth through gunpowder, dynamite, paints, and plastic manufacturing that has lasted them over 200 years. This immense amount of wealth has put them #15 on the Forbes Richest Families in America. John Du Pont was raised solely by his mother and was always seen as an outcast and very peculiar. After the death of his mother he was reported to see ghosts on his wall, communicate with birds better than people, and increasingly hostile towards the wrestlers on his Foxcatcher estate. Du Pont was convicted of murdering star wrestler Dave Shultz, who was also the Assistant Coach of the USA Wrestling team lead by Du Pont, after Dave reportedly “talked behind John’s back”.
Audience: The targeted audience is most definitely Oscar voters and also fans of Steve Carell. These two audiences share the common question of, “Why is Carell playing a serious role? And how is he getting Oscar nominations from it?” The targeted audience is also the audience that is watching the interview because even if you’re not very familiar of Carell’s work, you know that he doesn’t have the reputation of a paranoid killer. People are watching it very optimistically and are now discovering that Carell might be taking a break from his traditional whimsical roles. Carell also gained worldwide attention for his role in The Big Short in 2015, which was another film where he abandoned his conventional self.
Purpose: The first question asked was “Do you feel that it was the performance of a lifetime?” Carell indirectly confirms this by saying that it was in fact a role that he will always look back on as one of the few things in his career that he is extremely proud of. The women conducting the interview was also very interested in the behind the scenes aspects of the movie such as his relationship with co-star Channing Tatum. Channing Tatum is another actor with a very light and playful reputation so she instantly thought that they were constantly cracking jokes on set. The reality of the situation was nearly the opposite, Carell and Tatum both silently agreed that if they wanted to maintain the tension between their two characters that they should remain distant. This tactic resulted in a very successful movie, but also the media made sure to explode about how there was tension between the two on set. The tension was definitely there, but it was for the aspiration to portray the actual story to its full potential.
Point of View: Carell addresses the point that he got so caught up in this intense role that there was a visceral response from his fellow actors that they never wanted to be around him. They never saw him as Steve Carell because they couldn’t see past his disturbing figure, which ultimately strengthened his role as an outcast. Carell made it clear that if he was ever going to have the opportunity to have a serious role similar to this, that he wanted to let the audience know that he’s more than capable of doing so. In an interview conducted by Andrew Pulver, Carell made the staggering remark of never seeing Du Pont as a villain, he saw him as “a guy who was the product of his upbringing, his enormous wealth. He was isolated to a great extent from many of the things that he longed for – and it was compounded with mental issues, of course. He was someone who didn’t possess the tools to achieve what he wanted out of life; and in that regard, incredibly heartbreaking.” The empathy Carell has for Du Pont is something you may never see, which is why Carell’s perilous portrayal of Du Pont has heightened his popularity exponentially.