There’s a little bit of Brick Tamland in every role Steve Carell‘s ever done. Even his dramatic roles (which are less “dramatic” than they are “drama adjacent”) bear the stigma of a man who once pooped a Cornish game hen in the Anchorman blooper bonus footage. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is the poignant story of a man who copes with the certainty of his own grisly death … by visiting a restaurant where a wacky wait staff kisses him and he yells things like a lunatic. Little Miss Sunshine is a touching family film where Carell overcomes his suicidal depression through his love for his niece and nephew. Then he does a wacky dance and yells like a lunatic.
I long for the day he can fully emerge from the shadow of “I love lamp.”
And that day’s almost here, give or take a few months. On November 14th, Foxcatcher will open in theaters across the country. It was originally scheduled for last December, but that was before Sony Pictures Classics decided the movie had more of a “2014” ring to it than a “2013” (makes sense — 2013 is so last year). It stars Carell as John du Pont, the real-life chemical heir who befriended Olympic wrestler siblings Mark and Dave Schultz, only to grow mentally unstable and kill the latter in cold blood. The film also stars Channing Tatum as the Tatum-esque Mark, and Mark Ruffalo as bald and bearded Dave.
The first clip from the film, released via Yahoo Movies, has no Ruffalo, just a little bit of Tatum and a whole lot of Carell, who looks grey and misshapen and with a nose on loan from Nigel Thornberry. Take a look below.
From this clip, I don’t doubt that Carell has put his heart and soul into channeling a murderous weirdo with a penchant for lolling about in track suits. But I do doubt, just a smidge, that Carell can truly pull off the complete 180 he’s hoping for with Foxcatcher. The makeup does its job, and Carell actually looks a fair amount like the real du Pont — grey and gaunt and extremely endowed in the schnoz. He sounds less like Carell than you’d think, even if his accent is a little uneven (keep those ears peeled for “I’m a wrestling cooooach”).
But the whole time, all I can really see is Steve Carell. A Steve Carell who’s burdened by a lot of prosthetic old man lumpiness, but a Steve Carell nonetheless. I don’t know if I buy him yet as an eccentric millionaire that could go so far off the deep end that he’d murder one of his closest friends. Foxcatcher is a contender for the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, though, so I’m guessing there’s more to Carell’s misshapen psychosis then what we can see in a mere minute and twenty-one seconds. And at least we won’t hear Carell discussing his latest nontraditional bowel movements.
Foxcatcher will screen at Cannes on May 19th and opens in theaters November 14th.