The initial marketing push for Foxcatcher, the upcoming true story-inspired film by director Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball), has struck a decidedly unnerving and often chilling tone; the latest teaser trailer (see above) is no exception, culminating with Channing Tatum repeatedly smashing his head against a mirror. As downright strange it would've seemed a few years back, Tatum is now a fairly respected actor - one who's even begun to earn accolades, for his work on Miller's upcoming movie.
Backing up a bit - Foxcatcher tells the tale of how, in the late 1980s, competitive wrestler Mark Schultz (Tatum) was recruited by billionaire heir John du Pont (Steve Carell) to train a team to compete in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. However, the relationship that formed between the two men soon became destructive - fueled in no small part by their mutual obsession with (and jealousy of) Mark's older, Olympic medal-winning brother, Dave (Mark Ruffalo) - and eventually led to a horrifying, tragic conclusion.
A real uplifter, right? Anyway, the Foxcatcher trailers released so far have alluded to the heavy subjects examined in the actual movie (see: the dangers of the competition-driven mentality, class privilege, etc.); going by the early rave reviews, Miller's film is quite effective at cutting to the heart of the issues and concerns raised by this real-world cautionary tale. Moreover, as mentioned before, Tatum is even picking up pre-awards season buzz for his work - with the Foxcatcher poster boasting a quote from the Village Voice's review, claiming that Tatum's performance "is a marvel of physicality, and surely one of the best we'll see all year."
Tatum has spent the last couple years appearing in films that deconstruct the "hunky male" archetype that he represents so well, through means both more dramatic (see: Magic Mike) and comical alike (see: 21 Jump Street and 22 Jump Street) - which is to say, Foxcatcher reads as being a logical continuation of that trend.
Who knows, as much as the initial buzz for Foxcatcher has been concerned with Carell's performance and his facial prosthetics in the film, the conversation might end up moving over to Tatum's performance, once the movie hits theaters. We're just saying this as a warning to those who are still struggling to wrap their heads around the fact that Tatum is now being taken seriously as an actor by the critic community - he could very well end up adding "Oscar-nominee" to his name, in the foreseeable future.
Foxcatcher opens in U.S. theaters on November 14th, 2014.
Source: Sony Pictures Classics