You hear that? That’s the sound of everyone in Hollywood sitting up and finally taking notice of the absurdly talented Mark Ruffalo. While the actor has turned in a series of accomplished roles (including You Can Count on Me, Zodiac, The Brothers Bloom, and The Kids Are All Right) over the years, he’s never quite vaulted into big-name, big-award territory. Until now. Though his casting as Bruce Banner/The Hulk in Joss Whedon’s upcoming The Avengers was an unexpected choice, Ruffalo’s work in the film is outstanding (I can vouch for that, having seen the film last week), and fans will be very pleased with his take on both Bruce and “the other guy.”

To that end, Variety reports that Ruffalo has landed his first post-Avengers role, and it’s one that may make an Oscar winner out of him yet. Ruffalo has now joined the cast of Bennett Miller’s long-gestating true crime story, Foxcatcher. Miller has been trying to get the film made for years, and Steve Carell and Channing Tatum have both been set to star for months now, but the casting of Ruffalo has proven to be especially important – as it will be Ruffalo who takes the co-leading role, not Tatum, as once reported.

The film tells the true story of John du Pont (Carell), the heir to the du Pont fortune who, as a huge supporter of amateur sports and USA Wrestling in particular, built a wrestling facility, called Team Foxcatcher, on his Pennsylvania estate. But du Pont was also a paranoid schizophrenic who believed that there was an international conspiracy in place to kill him – a conspiracy that he believed his long-time friend, Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler Dave Schultz (Ruffalo) was a part of. That belief led du Pont to shoot and kill Schultz in 1996, in front of both Schultz’s wife and du Pont’s head of security. After the shooting, du Pont barricaded himself in his mansion for two days while negotiating with the police.

While it was first reported that Tatum would be taking the Dave Schultz role, he will actually be playing Mark Schultz, Dave’s younger brother, who was also an Olympic wrestler.

The film is a passion project of Miller’s and comes from a very compelling story, so it’s expected that Foxcatcher will be a heavy-hitter once awards season (likely for 2013) rolls around.

Ruffalo will next be seen in Thanks for Sharing, Now You See Me, and – of course - The Avengers.

 


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