Hollywood makeup wizardry made comic Steve Carell unrecognizable for his latest star turn as heir John du Pont in director Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher. The film which opens in U.S. theaters on Friday portrays the tragic relationship between du Pont and the wrestler-brothers Mark and Dave Schultz who won Olympic gold medals.
Carell, 52, best known for smash comedies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and the hit TV series The Office spoke to Reuters about his creepy appearance and exploring his character’s past.
How did you prepare to play du Pont?
I thought about who he was as a little boy and the sheltered environment he grew up in. He essentially grew up in this enormous estate with his mother who by all accounts was not the most warm person. At his core, he was a very lonely person. All those things sort of layered on top in terms of how he became a sportsman and got interested in wrestling and other sports. It also explains why he surrounded himself with these men that he perceived as great athletes and Americans. He yearned for so much that he just didn’t have the tools to acquire it.
You were quite the unsettling presence on the sets.
It sounds pretentious to say that, but I think it was greatly because of the hair and makeup. It was a three-hour process in the morning. Even the guy who would pick me up from the hotel, drive me to hair and makeup and would take me from there to the sets treated me differently. It wasn’t like I was in character. I wasn’t doing anything. Just by virtue of what I looked like, he did not talk to me and I felt it too on set. When I had all the garb on and I looked that way, people tended to avoid me a little bit more. It was a bit off-putting, which was good.
Now that you’ve received some good reviews how do you feel?
I am so cocky right now, just strutting around. Even my wife can’t deal with me. I am having t-shirts made with quotes of the movie.You know what? I am really happy for Bennett because it’s been eight years. The fact that he is able to soak this up and take in this acknowledgement is a big, big deal.