Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A Role That Scared Steve; He Admits It's His Most Challenging Role to Date, and Steve Carell's Portrayal of American Heir and Killer John Du Pont Is Already Attracting Oscar Buzz. the Actor Tells Shereen Low How Bringing the Complex Murderer to the Screen Has Left a Lasting Impression

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A Role That Scared Steve; He Admits It's His Most Challenging Role to Date, and Steve Carell's Portrayal of American Heir and Killer John Du Pont Is Already Attracting Oscar Buzz. the Actor Tells Shereen Low How Bringing the Complex Murderer to the Screen Has Left a Lasting Impression

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Carell

FOR someone once described as America's funniest man, Steve Carell has taken a very dark and disturbing turn.

The 52-year-old, best known for his comedic performances in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Anchorman and the US version of The Office, dons prosthetics and heavy make-up to portray eccentric multi-millionaire and murderer John du Pont in new big-screen flick Foxcatcher.

Directed by Bennett Miller, the drama tells the true-life story of du Pont, an heir to the immensely wealthy American dynasty, whose friendship with wrestling brothers Dave and Mark Schultz (Mark Ruffalo and R Channing Tatum) ended in tragedy.

A few years after shooting Dave at close range, du Pont died in prison in 2010, aged 72. Carell's creepy look for the film, which also stars Vanessa Redgrave and Sienna Miller, was so effective that even his costars would distance themselves from him on set.

"The prosthetics influenced my performance more than I anticipated," admits Carell. "Once all that make-up went on, people reacted and responded to me dif-dif ferently. He did have a very specific way of talking and a certain demeanour, and a specific look as well. His physicality was very off-putting to many people - people naturally wanted to be separate from me."

Being so alienated on set was "different", but the actor is certain it helped him tap into du Pont's complexity.

"It was beneficial. It happened organically - it wasn't something we talked about.

"I didn't get to know Mark or Channing at all while we were shooting, and it wasn't until much later on, when we were promoting the movie, that I got to know them personally," he adds. "They're great, fun, charming, warm and funny, but there wasn't any of that when we were shooting. It was a very sombre place to be. But it was important for it to be that way."

Carell - who started out in Chicago comedy troupe The Second City, which counts comics Tina Fey and Mike Myers among its alumni - has already received awards for his performance, alongside his Tatum and Ruffalo, as well as Golden Globe and Screen RActors Guild nominations. …

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