Is the world ready for John Eleuthère du Pont? We’ll know soon enough, when Foxcatcher finally surfaces in theaters later this year. Originally set for release this past fall, the film has a strong pedigree for Oscar contention. Director Bennett Miller’s work on Capote earned him an Academy Award nomination in 2005. Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo and Steve Carell are a respectable big-screen triple threat. And we all know how the Academy loves psychological drama (see Rain Man, The Silence of the Lambs, A Beautfiul Mind, etc.).
Miller began developing Foxcatcher seven years ago, and a bulk of it was shot in the Pittsburgh area in 2012. Dave Schultz is played by Ruffalo—thickly bearded and bulked up just enough to fill out his skimpy wrestling singlet. Tatum handles the role of his younger brother, Mark. As du Pont, Carell appears utterly transformed, thanks to silver hair and a hawk-like prosthetic nose. Other names you might know: Sienna Miller as Dave Schultz’s wife; Vanessa Redgrave as the obligatory mother figure, Jean Austin du Pont; and ’80s teen-flick
survivor Anthony Michael Hall as du Pont’s assistant.
Of course, the primary real-life inspirations for Foxcatcher aren’t here to see themselves on screen. Schultz was shot dead in broad daylight on du Pont’s Newtown Square estate back in 1996. The man who pulled the trigger died in prison in 2010.
Taras M. Wochok is around to offer his opinion on the film. The Paoli-based attorney was du Pont’s longtime confidante and legal counsel. In a lengthy and sometimes shocking interview with senior writer J.F. Pirro (“At Close Range,” page 80), Wochok explains the nuances of his often-difficult relationship with du Pont, while touching on his client’s mental decline and the details surrounding the murder and subsequent trial. Wochock is also forthcoming about his own regrets—in particular, the lingering possibility that more could’ve been done.
“I’m still haunted by the recognition that one can never predict what another human being will do,” Wochock told Pirro. “I’m constantly searching for signs that existed or should’ve been recognized. I’m haunted by the fact that, despite all of the good things John did during his life, he’ll be remembered primarily for the murder of Dave Schultz. How tragic.”
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: A big “thank you” to Kathleen Hoover, Neumann University’s dean of nursing and health sciences, for expediting the Health Care Heroes selection process for another year. Hoover joined the Delaware Valley Health Care Council’s Priscilla Koutsouradis and yours truly in choosing this year’s winners from a pool of more than 96 worthy nominees. You can read more about them in Melissa Jacobs’ feature, “Always on Call” (page 72). All will be honored at Main Line Today’s second annual Health Care Heroes luncheon on May 8 at Neumann.