By Mary Milliken
BEVERLY HILLS Calif. (Reuters) - 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 wrestlers Mark and Dave Schultz, brothers 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," talked to Reuters about his creepy appearance and exploring his character's past.
Q: How did you prepare to play du Pont?
A: I thought about who he was as a little kid, the environment he grew up in. He was very sheltered. 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.
And all those things sort of layered on top in terms of how he became a sportsman and interested in wrestling and other sports and how he surrounded himself with these men that he perceived as great athletes and great Americans. He just yearned for so much that he just didn't have the tools to acquire.
Q: You were quite the unsettling presence on set.
A: It sounds pretentious to say that, but I think it was in great part because of the hair and makeup. It was a three-hour process in the morning. Even the guy who would pick me up at the hotel, drive me to hair and makeup and would take me from there to set - even he 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 stuff on and I looked that way, people tended to avoid me a little bit more. It was a bit off-putting, which was good.
Q: How do you feel now that you've had some good reviews?
A: I am so cocky right now, just strutting around. My wife can't even 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.
(Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by David Gregorio)