Foxcatcher

Mark Schultz: ‘Foxcatcher’ greater than Olympics

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Mark Schultz, an Olympic wrestling gold medalist, said the film “Foxcatcher,” based on the murder of his Olympic champion brother, is “the greatest thing that has happened in my life.”

“Easily the greatest,” Schultz said last month, according to MMAMania.com. “Even greater than the Olympics.”

Why does it beat a gold medal?

“I got Channing Tatum playing me, and Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo [also in the cast], and Bennett Miller [the director],” Schultz answered in a phone interview. “I got this A-list cast, and it’s like thank God all the pain and suffering I went through, all the destruction that occurred in my life didn’t go for nothing.”

Schultz and older brother Dave Schultz won Olympic freestyle wrestling titles at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. As depicted in the film, they both later joined paranoid schizophrenic millionaire John du Pont‘s Foxcatcher gym in Pennsylvania.

Du Pont shot and killed Dave Schultz on Jan. 26, 1996. At the time, Mark Schultz was no longer at Foxcatcher and coaching at Brigham Young University in Utah.

The film “Foxcatcher” opened in New York and Los Angeles on Friday. It stars Carell as du Pont, Ruffalo as Dave Schultz and Tatum as Mark Schultz and has received Academy Awards buzz. Carell, in particular.

Schultz confirmed he cried each of the first three times he saw the movie. Why?

“Watching my brother get murdered,” he said, matter-of-factly.

In previous interviews, Schultz said that years ago a draft of his memoir, which he originally gave to younger wrestlers, eventually made it into the hands of director Bennett Miller. Miller was then coming off making the 2005 film “Capote,” for which he was nominated for Best Director.

“[Miller] read one paragraph and said, ‘This is the story I’ve been looking for for the last six years,'” Schultz said in a radio interview.

To which Schultz later responded, “What paragraph was that?” (Miller couldn’t remember by the time Schultz was able to ask him)

Bennett took on the film. Schultz, an associate producer, said being on set in Pittsburgh was painful — so much that he walked off the set at one point, and he said he doesn’t like parts of the film — but the experience also proved cathartic.

“The training that the actors had to go through, and the going back into my past and dredging up all that horrible stuff, and the actors really wanted to get it right,” he said, according to FoxSports.com. “They wanted to get to the truth, and they did get to the truth.”

Schultz spent additional time with Tatum in Montreal and New York. Tatum had already played the role of a fighter in the 2009 film “Fighting.”

source: Getty Images
Mark Schultz (left) and Channing Tatum at the Cannes Film Festival in May. (Getty Images)

“[Tatum] already looks like me, kind of, better looking,” Schultz said in the radio interview. “He’s a great MMA fighter.”

Schultz said the first time he saw Carell dressed as du Pont on set, it was like seeing a ghost.

“My personal feelings was I actually thought it was du Pont for a split second,” Schultz said, according to FoxSports.com. “I thought he had been resurrected from the dead because he looked so much like him. He walked and talked exactly like him.”

Schultz even had a cameo in the film, as the official weighing Tatum at the 1988 U.S. Olympic trials, when in real life he had to cut 12 pounds in 90 minutes to make weight.

Schultz distanced himself from USA Wrestling in previous interviews. He said he used to scream at the organization’s former executive director, in the 1980s, for its inability to assist him financially while training. He went to Foxcatcher because du Pont offered him money. Du Pont became a USA Wrestling sponsor, and reportedly gave more than $3 million to the national governing body.

“I don’t have any animosity towards [USA Wrestling],” Schultz says now. “They do what they do. I do what I do.”

USA Wrestling supports the film.

“Going into the movie, I was a little apprehensive and worried, so to speak, in terms of how accurately the story would have been told and what reflection the movie would have on wrestling and USA Wrestling as well,” said USA Wrestling executive director Rich Bender, who knew du Pont and was the organization’s national events director two decades ago. “I was relieved, from an authenticity standpoint, and from a fair representation.”

Tiger Woods’ ranking drop brings up Olympic question

2020 French Open women’s singles draw, results

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If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.

Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.

Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.

If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.

Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.

The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.

Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.

The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.

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2020 French Open men’s singles draw, results

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Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.

Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.

Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.

The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

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