Channing Tatum, Steve Carell costar and …Oscar contender?
EXCLUSIVE: The director Bennett Miller is known for generating Oscar heat for his performers: Philip Seymour Hoffman won a best actor statuette for “Capote,” and Brad Pitt is attracting that kind of talk for “Moneyball.”
Can the director make the same magic happen for (the to-date Oscar-free) Channing Tatum?
He might have his chance. The “G.I. Joe” and "Step Up" star is in talks to star alongside Steve Carell in Miller’s next film, the John du Pont story “Foxcatcher,” said two studio executives who’d been briefed on the project but asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to talk about it publicly.
In the film, Carell is set to play du Pont, the heir to the du Pont chemical fortune who, in an apparent fit of paranoid schizophrenia, infamously shot and killed the Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz in 1996 at a Pennsylvania facility du Pont had built (the titular Foxcatcher). He was jailed for the crime, and died in prison in 2010.
Tatum would play Schultz, a seven-time world and Olympic champion who left behind a wife and two young children when he was fatally shot at the age of 36. The role is in a sense a more prestige spin on physical-centric parts Tatum has been known for in movies such as "Fighting" and "The Eagle.” (Tatum is next set to star in the exotic-dancing tale "Magic Mike," based on his own background, as well as the reboot of undercover-cop TV series "21 Jump Street.")
The "Foxcatcher" situation was described by the executives as being in the talks stage, with no deal in place. Tatum’s representative and a producer on the film did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Miller is known for choosing projects carefully--he waited five years between "Capote" and "Moneyball," but hopes to begin shooting "Foxcatcher" in the first part of 2012. He has been developing the film, which is being financed and produced independently and does not yet have theatrical distribution, for several years.
The movie has a shiny pedigree: one producer, Anthony Bregman, was behind "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” and the writers, E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman, penned "Capote.”
Photo: Channing Tatum in February 2011. Credit: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times