Foxcatcher: An Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. CHANNING TATUM’s SAD ABODE

CHANNING TATUM
(answers phone)
Hello?

VOICE ON OTHER END
Hello, I’m calling on behalf of super rich, super weird STEVE CARELL. He wants to fly you in his helicopter to his Estate of Dysfunction and meet you because you’re such a famous wrestler, and he’s a huge fan. And a huge supporter with a huge checkbook. OK?

CHANNING TATUM
I guess. It’s not like my life could get any worse.

INT. STEVE CARELL’S (DOMINEERING MOTHER’S) MANSION

STEVE and his horrifying PROSTHETIC PROBOSCIS greet CHANNING.

STEVE CARELL
Good afternoon. Do you have any idea why I’ve invited you here?

CHANNING TATUM
So I could help you woo a beautiful woman you’re in love with but too shy to say so, unless I’m parroting your words, and you’re hiding nearby feeding me lines? And we could have a series of wacky high jinks until she finally realizes that appearances don’t matter, and she’s actually in love with you?

STEVE CARELL
Very funny. No, it’s because I’m a selfless patriot who deeply loves my country and feels that Olympic caliber wrestlers deserve to be supported in a manner that lets them live with a basic amount of dignity, like say, you for instance. And your brother, MARK RUFFALO. But mostly you.

CHANNING TATUM
That’s cool. After all, I’m living in a shithole and wrestling in a gym the size of a foyer and giving speeches to bored school kids who are just happy to be missing social studies. Also, people keep mistaking me for my brother, who’s way famous-er, which sucks.

STEVE CARELL
Boy, do we have a lot in common. You see, as rich and powerful as I am, I have deep seated insecurities, as the result of living in my more famous family members’ shadows. Also, my mother treats me with the same amount of disdain as she would a used jockstrap, and I’d like to change that. So why don’t we get together and call ourselves an institute?

(after a beat)
And your brother, too, of course.

EXT. MARK RUFFALO’s backyard

CHANNING TATUM
So there’s this guy, Steve, who wants us to come train at his wrestling facility on the FOXCATCHER estate and be, like, his new best friends. Interested in completely uprooting your family and going to live there?

MARK RUFFALO
(real line)
What’s in it for him?

CHANNING TATUM
Patriotism? Mommy issues? Or maybe he’s just a rich, bored dude who really likes wrestling? Who cares?

MARK RUFFALO
Well, listen. I’m perfectly happy with my beautiful wife and kids right here, but you go if you want. Considering that our real life characters were never at Foxcatcher at the same time, at least this part of the movie will be accurate. Have fun!

EXT. FOXCATCHER ESTATE – LATE, LATE at NIGHT

STEVE CARELLL
Pssst, CHANNING, you up?

CHANNING TATUM
Um, I guess.

STEVE CARELL
I just wanted to stop by and give you this book on birds, which I wrote all by myself. Birds are really cool. And symbolic. Do you like bird-watching?

CHANNING TATUM
Gee thanks. It’s kinda late, though. Maybe we could do that tomorrow. After I train? You know, the reason for my being here in the first place?

STEVE CARELL
No problem. We have plenty of time for the homoerotic bonding later on. Night! No, wait. Did you talk to your brother?

CHANNING TATUM
He’s not interested. Unlike me and you, he has no deep-seated insecurities to work out plus an actual semblance of a normal life.

STEVE CARELL
(pulls jaw off floor)
OK, then. Plenty of time to discuss that later.

INT. SOMETIME LATER – STEVE’s STUDY

STEVE CARELL
Here’s a nice big check, Channing, because we’ve become such good friends. Want a drink, too? Or maybe some coke? Plus, now you have the supreme honor of getting to call me Steve.

CHANNING TATUM
Gosh, Steve, I am truly flattered. Not only have you gotten me hooked on drugs, but you are the first person to prefer me to my brother. Let’s be friends forever!

STEVE CARELL
(without irony)
When I was a kid, I found out that my mother was paying some guy to be friends with me, but it’s great that those days are over. Say, when we met Mark and his kids in the hotel room at your last competition, what in the world was he doing with them?

CHANNING TATUM
Uh, interacting with them in a warm, positive manner? That’s what lower class people do, you know?

STEVE CARELL
So that’s what that was. Speaking of positive family interactions, I’m hoping that my mother will finally give me her approval once I win my class in the upcoming wrestling tournament. What do you think?

CHANNING TATUM
Worth a try.  After all, why shouldn’t money buy you love?

INT. VANESSA REDGRAVE’s LAIR of EMASCULATION

STEVE CARELL
Can we put my new trophy in the Trophy Room, Mother?

VANESSA REDGRAVE
(sighs)
“You know, Steve, wrestling is so beneath you. All these sweaty men grunting away like apes. It’s not at all like say, foxhunting, which is extremely classy despite the fact that it always ends with a poor little animal getting ripped to shreds.

STEVE CARELL
But all horses do is eat and shit.

VANESSA REDGRAVE
As opposed to wrestlers? OK, you can put the trophy in the case, but I still love the horses way more than I’ll ever do you. At least, they never embarrass me.

INT. TV ROOM

STEVE CARELLL
Channing, we need to talk. When are you getting your brother?

CHANNING TATUM
It’s not gonna happen. Besides I thought YOU were my best friend.

STEVE CARELL
(slaps him)
Not anymore!

CHANNING TATUM
Well, I guess our match made in heaven is over.

STEVE manages to woo MARK to Foxcatcher, but continues to deteriorate moodwise, prompting CHANNING to also act moody or act out or whatever, completely befuddling poor MARK who is caught in the maelstrom of weirdness.

INT. TV ROOM

MARK RUFFALO
Steve told me that he thinks you need psychological help. This from a guy who drives a tank around his property, right?

CHANNING TATUM
(broods)

MARK RUFFALO
Is there anything going on between you and Steve that I should know about? Like those late night sessions in…

CHANNING TATUM
No! We’re not even friends anymore. Friends don’t let friends do coke when they’re in a helicopter and then give moronic speeches to a bunch of stuffed shirts.

MARK RUFFALO
You know, Channing,  I can’t help noticing you’ve chopped off your hair which is often movie code for “I’ve been sexually assaulted.”

CHANNING TATUM
This is not an Afterschool Special. This is a Serious Movie about what happens when the American Dream turns sour perverted by unchecked privilege. If it wasn’t, we’d be training to “Eye of the Tiger” not this weird, minimalistic tinkly music. So back off.

MARK RUFFALO
Got it.

INT. FOXCATCHER GYM – A TRAINING SESSION is in progress.

MARK RUFFALO
OK, guys, why don’t we…

STEVE CARELL
(sees Vanessa being wheeled into the gym, leaps up)
No, wait, I’LL be the coach. You always get to be the coach, and it’s not fair.

MARK RUFFALO
(rolls eyes, steps back)

STEVE CARELL
A coach is not just a coach. He’s a mentor. Who models patriotism. And good citizenship. Because we’re going to represent America. At the Olympics. Now watch me demonstrate some amateur moves just to prove that I, too, am a wrestler.

VANESSA REDGRAVE
(to attendants)
Please wheel me out before I expire of embarrassment. And tell the boys there’s Kool-Aid and coke in the kitchen once they’re done playing.

Things continue to go downhill, after VANESSSA dies, and Steve deals with his grief in a mature manner by letting all the horses out of the barn and becoming even more closed off and paranoid. Plus, WINTER arrives.

EXT. FOXCATCHER ESTATE covered in HEAVILY SYMBOLIC SNOW.

STEVE CARELL
Do you know why I am pointing this gun at you, Mark?

MARK RUFFALO
Coke? Paranoia? A weird new motivational technique? Whatever it is, can’t we just talk…

STEVE CARELL
(shoots him)

SIENNA MILLER
Could you at least tell me why you killed Mark?

STEVE CARELL
Sadly, I’ve imploded to the point where I don’t have any more dialogue. You’ll just have to watch all these long shots, listen to the tinkly music and piece together my motivations for yourself.

END

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