TIME movies

The True Story Behind Foxcatcher

FOXCATCHER
Scott Garfield—Fair Hill, LLC Steve Carell and Channing Tatum in Foxcatcher

Is the story of two Olympic wrestlers and their benefactor as twisted as the movie suggests?

Foxcatcher, out Friday, chronicles the real-life story of Mark and Dave Schultz (played by Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, respectively), brothers and Olympic gold medalists in wrestling, who accept the patronage of John du Pont (Steve Carell), heir to his family’s chemical company fortune. The eccentric and erratic Du Pont is obsessed with the sport of wrestling but was never good enough to compete himself. When he attempts to live vicariously through the Schultz brothers, the situation turns foul.

The relationship between the three men was closely examined after an incident at Du Pont’s estate, called Foxcatcher Farms, caught the press’ attention in 1996. TIME’s 1996 coverage of those events and Mark Schultz’s upcoming memoir—also named Foxcatcher, and out Nov. 18—both elucidate how much of the Hollywood version is true and which details have been added for dramatic effect. (Schultz’s memoir, of course, is based on his own personal memory of and take on the events. The director conducted interviews with others who lived on Foxcatcher at the time.) Here’s what’s fact and what’s fiction.

Warning: contains spoilers.

Mark Schultz would hit himself in the face after losing

Ruling: Fact

Schultz writes in his book that he wanted to make losing “the worst experience ever.” He would hit himself after a loss so that he would associate the bad wrestling match with pain and thus motivate himself not to make the same mistakes again.

In a testament to how committed Channing Tatum was to the part, Tatum actually hit his head through a mirror in a scene as Schultz—and injured himself doing it. Director Bennet Miller told Vanity Fair, “He punched that thing with his head three times and shattered it, and put his head through it and through the frame behind the mirror and through the drywall that the mirror was hanging on and left a divot two inches deep. When we took that mirror down, there was a hole in the wall. He actually cut himself, and you see his blood in that scene.” Guess Tatum really wants that Oscar.

John Du Pont built a wrestling facility at Foxcatcher to train potential Olympians

Ruling: Fact

Du Pont had long been preoccupied with participating in the Olympics in some capacity. He wanted to compete in the pentathlon in the 1968 games in Mexico. (Someone had once told Du Pont that since he already knew how to shoot, this was his best chance at making an Olympic team.) Du Pont built a shooting range and Olympic sized swimming pool on his estate to train. He even commissioned a mosaic of himself competing in all the events made of tiles shipped from Italy. Despite this heavy investment, he came in second to last in the trials for the Olympic team that year.

After giving up on his own athletic ambitions, Du Pont thought he could coach a team to a gold medal. Du Pont created Team Foxcatcher to train potential Olympians in swimming, pentathlon and triathlon. He brought wrestlers to Foxcatcher years later.

Du Pont offered Mark Schultz money to train at Foxcatcher

Ruling: Mostly Fiction

Mark Schultz did not immediately move to Foxcatcher to train. Du Pont first offered him a job helping to coach the wrestling team at Villanova University, which the magnate was reviving with his generous donations. (Du Pont’s first call was to Dave, but Dave turned down the job.) Mark Schultz moved to an apartment near campus and lived there while working and training at Villanova. Du Pont later fired Mark Schultz from Villanova but told Mark he could continue to train there if he moved onto the Foxcatcher estate. Seduced by the free rent and facilities, Mark did so. The Villanova wrestling program folded shortly thereafter, after just two years of competition.

Du Pont sustained the program at Foxcatcher by making millions of dollars of donations to U.S. Wrestling and attracting top talent with Schultz’s name. The mission was to churn out as many Olympians from the group as possible but, as shown in the movie, Du Pont’s preoccupation with glory over discipline made that task impossible.

Du Pont got Mark Schultz hooked on drugs

Ruling: Fiction

In the movie, Mark Schultz’s career begins to spiral downward when Du Pont offers him cocaine in a helicopter. But Schultz admits in his book that he had done drugs, including cocaine, before he ever moved to Foxcatcher. In fact, Du Pont asked Schultz if he knew where he might get cocaine, and Schultz picked it up for him. Schultz says the two did the drug together only “two or three times” and even claims that Du Pont once showed him a kilo of coke labeled “evidence” that he was keeping in a drawer. Schultz assumed Du Pont had stolen it from a police precinct. (Police trained at DuPont’s shooting range, and he was considered a “friend of the force” thanks to his donations.)

That’s not to say that Schultz was the bad influence on Du Pont. Du Pont had a long-documented drug and alcohol problem. Even in their first meeting, Schultz says Du Pont was drunk and high. He rarely saw him sober in the years that followed. Friends, associates and neighbors confirmed as much to the press after Dave Schultz was shot. Even more bizarrely, they describe incidents like Du Pont driving two Lincoln Continentals into the farm’s pond, destroying property with his own personal tank and threatening people with guns. Du Pont’s former wife, Gale Wenk du Pont, filed a civil suit in 1985 claiming that he had threatened her with both a knife and a gun and tried to push her out of a moving car.

Du Pont and Mark Schultz had a close relationship

Ruling: Mostly Fiction

According to Schultz’s memoir the two were not as close as the movie might suggest. Schultz says that he got a bad feeling from Du Pont the moment they met and never warmed to him. The hostility between the two grew as Du Pont constantly interrupted Schultz’s training. Schultz writes that he once told Du Pont he was going to make t-shirts that said “Shut up and leave me alone” and wear them around the estate. Du Pont made the shirts and gave them to Schultz.

The movie also implies that Du Pont was harboring unrequited feelings for Schultz. Though Schultz says in his book that many suspected Du Pont might have been gay, he never saw any behavior to suggest so while living at Foxcatcher. However, a 1988 lawsuit (that was settled out of court) claimed Du Pont made improper sexual advances to Villanova assistant coach Andre Metzger.

Du Pont shot a gun during a wrestling practice

Ruling: Mostly Fiction

In the movie, Du Pont shoots off a gun during the middle of wrestling practice overseen by Mark Schultz at Foxcatcher. Schultz does not describe such an incident in his book. But he does relate a time when Du Pont burst into his apartment—Du Pont apparently entered the place without permission often—and threatened Schultz’s then-girlfriend by pointing the gun at her. Another Foxcatcher coach, Dan Chaid, left after eight years at the facility following an incident during which DuPont threatened him with a machine gun. According to Schultz, most people thought Du Pont was unbalanced but not dangerous. (During the apartment incident, Schultz stepped between his girlfriend and Du Pont without worrying that Du Pont would shoot him.)

Du Pont asked Dave Schultz to come live at Foxcatcher when he was disappointed with Mark’s performance

Ruling: Fiction

Dave Schultz and Mark Schultz never lived at Foxcatcher at the same time. Though Dave was under Schultz’s employ, he lived in Wisconsin while Mark was living on the estate. Schultz asked Dave to coach the Foxcatcher team after Mark had moved to a coaching position at BYU in Utah. Dave quit his job at Wisconsin and accepted. In the version Mark tells, the move had nothing to do with Mark’s disappointng performance in competition.

Mark Schultz once dropped 12 pounds in just 90 minutes for a weigh-in

Ruling: Fact

After “retiring” for a moment after a bad loss, Schultz says he indulged too much in room service and—when he decided to compete again—realized he was 12 pounds too heavy to wrestle in his weight class. Dave did help him “cut weight” quickly: “I puked up the first pound and a half. I put on four layers of sweats and rode a stationary bike like a madman for the rest of the ninety minutes.” But unlike in the movie, Du Pont didn’t see this happening and leave. (Du Pont’s mother had also already died at this point.)

Dave Schultz had “P.U. Kids” written on his hand when he died

Ruling: Fact

It was Schultz’s turn to pick up his kids from school the day he was shot and killed by Du Pont. He had written a reminder on his hand.

Du Pont was arrested immediately after the shooting

Ruling: Fiction

In the movie, Du Pont tries to evade arrest but is quickly apprehended. In reality, Du Pont had a two-day standoff in the police. He holed up in his mansion (filled with many guns), as the police surrounded the building outside. After he was arrested, Du Pont did not articulate any clear reason for committing the crime.

Read TIME’s original report on the events at Foxcatcher, here in the TIME Vault: Blood on the Mat

Read next: Sports at Cannes: Wrestling with Foxcatcher, Scoring With Red Army

TIME South Africa

Oscar Pistorius Gets 5 Years for the Culpable Homicide of Reeva Steenkamp

South African Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius attends his sentencing at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria
Herman Verwey—Reuters South African Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius attends his sentencing at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria Oct. 21, 2014

The Paralympic gold medalist was acquitted of murder last month

Athlete Oscar Pistorius was sentenced Tuesday to five years imprisonment for the Valentine’s Day killing of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The 27-year-old double-amputee was found guilty of culpable homicide after shooting Steenkamp through the toilet door of his home in Pretoria on Feb. 14, 2013.

The “Blade Runner,” as Pistorius is known due to his trademark prosthetic limbs, claims he thought an intruder lurked inside, but the state maintained that he shot four times with the intention of killing Steenkamp after the couple had argued.

The South African was acquitted of murder by Judge Thokozile Masipa last month after a high-profile trial that was televised around the world.

In sentencing Pistorius, Masipa said she weighed, “The personal circumstances of the accused and interests of society.”

She added: “A non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message to the community, but a long sentence would also not be appropriate.”

Pistorius made history as the first Paralympian to compete against able-bodied athletes at the 2012 London Olympics. He has apparently been suffering from depression since Steenkamp’s death.

A separate firearms charge received three years imprisonment, suspended for five years.

Read next: Heated Reaction in South Africa to Pistorius Sentence

TIME South Africa

Oscar Pistorius Must ‘Pay for What He Has Done,’ Steenkamp Family Says

Athlete expected to be sentenced as early as Friday for culpable homicide of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius “needs to pay for what he has done,” Reeva Steenkamp’s cousin said Thursday at a court hearing to decide the athlete’s sentence for killing the model. “My family are not people who are seeking revenge, we just feel … taking somebody’s life, to shoot somebody behind the door that is unarmed, that is harmless needs sufficient punishment,” Kim Martin told the court. “I’m very fearful of the accused, I have tried very hard to put him out of my mind…because I didn’t want to spend any energy thinking about him,” she said.

After giving her testimony, Martin thanked…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Athletes

USA Swimming Suspends Michael Phelps

Team USA Pan Pacs Squad Training Session
Chris Hyde—Getty Images Michael Phelps looks on during a Team USA Pan Pacs training session at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre on Aug. 19, 2014 in Gold Coast, Australia. Phelps was banned for six months and dropped from the 2015 world championships roster by USA Swimming following a DUI arrest.

This is Phelps' second DUI arrest in ten years

Michael Phelps will be suspended from USA Swimming-sanctioned events for six months, will withdraw from next year’s FINA World Championships and forfeit funding for six months, USA Swimming announced on Monday.

Phelps was cited for a violation of the organization’s Code of Conduct, specifically for conduct “detrimental to the image or reputation of USA Swimming, a LSC or the sport of swimming.”

Phelps was arrested on Sept. 30 in Maryland for driving under the influence. He was reportedly driving 84 mph in a 45 mph zone.

In addition to DUI, he has been charged with excessive speed and crossing double lane lines.

Michael Phelps arrested for DUI in Maryland

This is Phelps’ second DUI arrest in ten years. The previous incident, during which Phelps was 19-years-old, resulted in 18 months of probation.

In 2009, Phelps was suspended for three months after photos that appeared to show him smoking marijuana emerged.

Michael Phelps going to rehab after DUI arrest

A second conviction for DUI could mean up to one year in jail, a $1,000 fine and a six-month suspension of his driver’s license.

Phelps said on Oct. 5 that he would enter a six-week treatment program.

The 29-year-old, who recently began training for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, hold 22 Olympic medals, including 18 golds.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME swimming

Michael Phelps Tweets Apology After DUI Bust

Olympian was going almost double the speed limit and failed a sobriety test, authorities say

Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps tweeted to his fans Tuesday afternoon after he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Maryland early Tuesday morning.

Phelps, who is the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, was caught driving 84 mph in a tunnel with a 45mph speed limit, Maryland police said. He allegedly crossed double lines in the tunnel, and failed multiple sobriety tests. Authorities told NBC he was cooperative throughout the process. Phelps had been charged with a DUI once before, in 2004, after he ran a stop sign.

The swimmer acknowledged Tuesday’s incident on Twitter, and apologized for letting fans down:

Phelps has 22 Olympic medals to his name, and famously won eight gold medals in eight events at the Beijing Games in 2008. He won four more gold medals at the London Games in 2012, but has not yet confirmed whether he will swim in the Rio Games in 2016.

TIME olympics

Michael Phelps Busted on DUI Charge

SWIM-PANPACS-AUS-USA
Patrick Hamilton—AFP/Getty Images Michael Phelps of the US reacts following the men's 100 m butterfly heat at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre on the Gold Coast in Australia on Aug. 23, 2014.

Phelps is the most decorated Olympic athlete in history

Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps was arrested and charged with DUI and other charges in Maryland early Tuesday morning, News4 has confirmed.

Phelps was driving 84 mph inside the Fort McHenry Tunnel on Interstate 95 in Baltimore, said Maryland Transportation Authority Police. The speed limit in the tunnel is 45 mph.

Phelps was also charged with excessive speed and crossing double lane lines. He was arrested around 1:40 a.m., TMZ first reported. Phelps is the most decorated Olympic athlete in history with 22 medals: 18 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Culture

The Black Power Salute That Rocked the 1968 Olympics

Forty-six years after John Carlos and Tommie Smith's Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympics, LIFE.com remembers John Dominis's portrait of the unforgettable moment.

When Olympic sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood atop the medal podium at the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City, bowed their heads and raised black-gloved fists during the playing of the national anthem, millions of their fellow Americans were outraged. But countless millions more around the globe thrilled to the sight of two men standing before the world, unafraid, expressing disillusionment with a nation that so often fell, and still falls, so short of its promise.

In tribute to Smith, Carlos and every other athlete—Eric Liddell, Curt Flood, Sandy Koufax and on and on—who has acted on principle in a highly public way, LIFE.com presents John Dominis’s indelible portrait of that moment.

[See more of John Dominis’s amazing photography]

Smith and Carlos (both of whom are National Track and Field Hall of Famers) were vilified at home for their stand. They were suspended from the U.S. team. They received death threats. But neither man ever apologized for his raised fist or his bowed head—and neither ever had need to.

“We were just human beings who saw a need to bring attention to the inequality in our country,” Smith said years later, in a documentary on the 1968 Mexico City games produced for HBO. “I don’t like the idea of people looking at it as negative. There was nothing but a raised fist in the air and a bowed head, acknowledging the American flag—not symbolizing a hatred for it.”

Finally, it’s worth noting that the Australian silver medalist in the 200 meters in 1968, Peter Norman, stood solidly with Smith and Carlos, both literally and figuratively—displaying his solidarity with their action by wearing an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge during the medal ceremony. Four decades later, in 2006, both Smith and Carlos were pallbearers at Norman’s funeral.

“We knew that what we were going to do was far greater than any athletic feat,” Carlos was quoted as saying at the time. “[Peter] said, ‘I’ll stand with you.'”

Carlos expected to see fear in Peter Norman’s eyes before the medal ceremony, when there was no turning back from what they were about to do. But he didn’t see fear.

“I saw love,” he said.

[MORE: Read Madison Gray’s 2010 interview with John Carlos on TIME.com]


Ben Cosgrove is the Editor of LIFE.com


TIME LGBT

Olympic Committee Adds Anti-Discrimination Clause for Host Cities

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the 126th IOC session in Sochi,
Eric Gaillard—Reuters Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the 126th IOC session in Sochi, February 4, 2014. Sochi will host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games from February 7 to February 23. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (RUSSIA - Tags: SPORT OLYMPICS) - RTX187WH

The move comes after the much criticized Sochi games, which took place against a backdrop of Russia's staunchly homophobic policies

The International Olympic Committee announced on Wednesday that they will add an anti-discrimination clause to host city contracts.

So in order to host the 2022 Olympic Games, cities must pledge to adhere to a principle of the Olympic charter which prohibits discrimination. The move is a result of the pushback the IOC faced from human rights organizations following the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, where homophobic policies and incidents were rampant.

The updated clause calls for the prohibition of “any form of discrimination,” under the rules of Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter, which bans “any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise.” LGBT rights organizations All Out and Athlete Ally championed the Principle in an effort to get athletes and fans to speak out against the anti-LGBT laws in Russia.

Organizations like Human Rights Watch also urged the IOC to add a human rights provision to its host city contract for future games.

Co-founder and executive director of All Out, Andre Banks, called the IOC’s announcement a “significant step in ensuring the protection of both citizens and athletes around the world.”

TIME People

Bruce Jenner Was ‘The World’s Greatest Athlete’

Bruce Jenner
TIME From the Aug. 9, 1976, issue of TIME

Kris Jenner has filed for divorce, but her future ex-husband has something no one can take away

Kris Jenner, matriarch of the Kardashian clan, has officially filed for divorce from husband Bruce Jenner, after decades of marriage and about a year of separation.

But don’t be too sad for the Keeping Up with the Kardashians stars: she’s got her momager empire to keep her busy, and he’s got his Olympic memories. Though she’s a much bigger presence in the reality-television world for which they’re best known these days, we would like to take this opportunity to remind readers that he was a celebrity first — and not just a celebrity. In the Aug. 9, 1976, issue of TIME, the Olympic athlete was lauded as the greatest sportsman on Earth:

Cheered on by a wildly whooping and whistling crowd of 70,000, the United States’ Bruce Jenner grimaced his way across the finish line late last Friday afternoon to claim the one Olympic honor more precious than gold: the title of “the world’s greatest athlete.”

With the waning light shining on his flapping chestnut hair, the beautifully sculpted Jenner had powered his way through the 1,500 meters, the last of the ten labors that make up the taxing, two-day decathlon competition. Too uproariously happy to notice that he had left several contestants crumpled about him in pain on the track, Jenner jogged, danced and leaped through his victory lap. Then embracing his tearfully grinning wife Chrystie, he exulted: “It’s all over. We did it!” With the single-minded ambition that distinguishes Olympic champions—a characteristic that the two-week extravaganza in Montreal brought vividly to an audience of a billion people—the 26-year-old Jenner had achieved a goal set four years ago at Munich: that he would beat Soviet Champion Nikolai Avilov in 1976.

A fierce beating it was. By the end of the first day, the only question that remained was by how much Jenner would break Avilov’s world record of 8,454. The powerfully built (6 ft. 2 in., 195 lb.) Jenner had run faster, thrown farther and jumped higher and longer than ever in his life. “I’m sitting pretty,” he said, with typical elan. “All I have to do is show up tomorrow.”

Jenner and his wife Chrystie separated in 1979.

Read more about Bruce Jenner’s Olympic glory here, in TIME’s archives: The Decathlon: Ten Tests for Two

TIME Crime

The Oscar Pistorius Case: How It All Began

The March 11, 2013, cover of TIME
Cover Credit: PIETER HUGO / THE NEW YORK TIMES SYNDICATE The March 11, 2013, cover of TIME

In March 2013, TIME took a deep look at the origins of the Pistorius case

The murder trial that transfixed the world for much of 2014 began drawing to a close on Thursday, as a South African judge found Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius “negligent” but not guilty of murdering his girlfriend. Pistorius, 27, fired four shots into a bathroom at his Pretoria home in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013, killing model Reeva Steenkamp, but based his defense on thinking she was an intruder.

Global media relentlessly followed the case, which at times grew graphic and included a break so Pistorius’ mental health could be evaluated by experts. The judge is expected to issue a formal verdict on Friday, Sept. 12. Pistorius can still be found guilty of culpable homicide, or murder without premeditation, and may face years in prison.

Last March, TIME featured Pistorius in a cover story about this tragic series of events — not just it’s beginning between Pistorius and Steenkamp, but also in terms of the place of violence in South African society. The relationship between that culture and the famous athlete is a meaningful one, Alex Perry wrote:

If South Africa reveals its reality through crime, it articulates its dreams through sports. When in 1995—a jittery year after the end of apartheid—South Africa’s first black President, Nelson Mandela, adopted the Afrikaner game, rugby, and cheered the national team on to a World Cup win, he was judged to have held the country together. In 2010 his successors in the ANC delivered the message that Africa was the world’s newest emerging market and open for business through the faultless staging of a soccer World Cup.

Pistorius was the latest incarnation of South African hope. He was born without a fibula in either leg, and both were amputated below the knee before he reached his first birthday. Using prosthetics, Pistorius went on to play able-bodied sports at Pretoria Boys High School, one of the country’s most prestigious private schools, before a knee injury left him on the sidelines. Advised to run for his recovery, he began clocking astonishing times using carbon-fiber blades that copied the action of a cheetah. In 2012 in London, he took two Paralympic gold medals and one silver and ran in an Olympic final and semifinal.

That March 11, 2013, story is now available free of charge in TIME’s archives. Click here to read it in its entirety: Pistorius and South Africa’s Culture of Violence

Read next: Oscar Pistorius Gets 5 Years for the Culpable Homicide of Reeva Steenkamp

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