WHAT WOULD PETER SELLERS DO: Steve Carell Morphs Into Mad, Murderous du Pont Heir


ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Yes, we swear, that’s really Steve Carell. The star dons a prosthetic nose — and an uncharacteristically gloomy demeanor — in this exclusive image from his new movie Foxcatcher (out Dec. 20). In director Bennett Miller’s follow-up to Moneyball, Carell stars as John DuPont, the real-life chemical heir who befriended Olympic wrestler brothers Mark (Channing Tatum) and David Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) before murdering David in 1996. If you didn’t recognize Carell at first sight, you’re not alone. “We just had our first test [screening], and not everybody recognized Steve. He is aged [for the film], and his face is changed, and his physicality changed,” says Miller, who explains that the unlikely casting of Carell as a killer is an important part of making the character feel authentic. “If I say I’m going to make a movie about a guy who’s a schizophrenic murderer, there are probably a dozen actors who would immediately appear on anybody’s casting list. And Steve would not be on any of those lists. And that’s a good thing. Because it’s unexpected… John DuPont was a character who nobody thought was capable of doing something as horrible as he did. And I did not want to cast somebody who would feel dangerous in that way.” MORE

WIKIPEDIA: John Eleuthère du Pont (born November 22, 1938) is a member of the prominent American Du Pont family who in 1996 was convicted of murdering Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz and sentenced to up to 30 years in prison. Experts at the trial testified that du Pont suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.[1] Du Pont was born in Marseille, France and is the son of William du Pont, Jr. and Jean Liseter Austin (1897–1988) and is one of four children. At a young age, du Pont and his family immigrated to the United States and settled in North Philadelphia, where he attended preparatory schools and graduated from Haverford School in 1957. du Pont attended college in Miami, Florida and graduated from the University of Miami in 1965 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology. An ornithologist, du Pont is credited with the discovery of two dozen species of birds. He is also a philatelist, and during a 1980 auction anonymously paid $935,000 for one of the rarest stamps in the world, the British Guiana 1856 1c black on magenta.[2]

On September 3, 1983, he married a therapist named Gale Wenk but emotional instability was already evident and the difficult marriage ended in a divorce two years later in 1985. du Pont largely funded a new basketball arena at Villanova University which opened in 1986. Originally, the venue was called du Pont Pavilion, but his name was removed from the facility after his conviction. Today, it is called simply The Pavilion. Shortly after du Pont was arrested for sexually harrasing Andre Metzger, his mother died on August 9, 1988 at the age of 91. After the death of his mother, du Pont turned his 800 acre estate in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, into a wrestling facility for amateur wrestlers. du Pont’s wrestling team was called “Team Foxcatcher” and the team’s trainer was David Schultz, and members included Kurt Angle.

On January 26, 1996 he shot Schultz dead at the wrestling facility without apparent provocation and with Schultz’s wife among several witnesses. After the shooting, the multimillionaire locked himself in his mansion for two days, while he negotiated with police on the telephone. Police turned off his power, and were able to capture him when he went outside to fix his heater. Expert psychiatric testimony described du Pont as a paranoid schizophrenic who believed Schultz was part of an international conspiracy to kill him. He also was paranoid that people were going to break into his house and kill him, which is why he put razor wires in his attic. On February 26, 1997 a jury found him guilty of third degree murder but mentally ill. He was sentenced to 13-30 years incarceration and is currently housed at State Correctional Institute-Mercer, a minimum-security institution in the Pennsylvania prison system. MORE

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