Foxcatcher’s Real-Life Mark Schultz Bashes the Film on Twitter, Then (Kind of) Apologizes

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Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Wrestler Mark Schultz has a love-hate relationship with Bennett Miller and the Foxcatcher movie, in which he is portrayed by Channing Tatum. On Twitter and Facebook, Schultz has mostly helped with the film's promotion, sharing good reviews and saying he loves that the project immortalizes his late brother, Dave. In the last few days, however, he has displayed a roller coaster of emotions and sentiments.

Yesterday, he wrote:

My story and my life are real. I am a real human being. While I may have tweeted out of anger, I in no way regret standing up for myself, nor do I regret calling out the only other man who has had decision making power concerning my image and legacy these past years. I apologize for the harshness of my language, but I am firm in where I stand. I will gladly go to any lengths to protect and safeguard the integrity and truth of my story, my life, my character and my legacy. If that's not worth fighting over while I'm still alive, I don't know what is.

On New Year's Eve, Schultz had fired off such (since deleted) comments as "I HATE BENNETT MILLER," "Everything I've ever said positive about the movie I take back," and "YOU CROSSED THE LINE MILLER. WE'RE DONE. YOU'RE [sic] CAREER IS OVER. YOU THINK I CAN'T DO IT. WATCH ME."

Elsewhere on Schultz's Facebook, he has underlined the fact that Tatum portrays a fictionalized version of him, and has posted at length about the movie's inaccuracies:

According to this movie I'm described as an inarticulate meathead, emotionally fragile, insecure, searching for a father figure, and other things that couldn't be further from the truth. In real life I'm a corporate life coach and speaker. I can't be inarticulate. Dave is portrayed as a head coach but he was never a head coach. ... In the movie Dave negotiates a deal paying me even if I wasn't living and training on the farm. In other words I'd be paid as long as Dave was getting paid. There was a deal made in reality but I'm the one who made the deal and Dave is the one who benefited by doubling his salary at Wisconsin.

The ire seems rooted in Schultz's perception of himself in the film, based off a handful of unflattering reviews that have come out, and perhaps in his behind-the-scenes relationship with Miller — the nature of which is unclear, but evidently not the best. Schultz has stated he gave previous versions of his Foxcatcher book to Miller, and although the director used many scenes from the manuscript to inform his own, Schultz contends some moments were wholly fabricated:

It was flattering so many scenes were based on scenes from my book but the relationships and personalities are a little off. I was surprised to see just how many 3x5 cards were ordered on the board with short descriptions of scenes taken out of my book. It seemed to me almost every scene had my name on it. I don't know where the night library scene came from. When I asked Bennett to take it out he refused saying he needed a scene showing duPont's increasingly invasive encroachment upon my privacy and personal space.

Miller's film has been nominated for three Golden Globes, including Best Picture, and has been a hot topic in this year's Oscars conversation. A finalized version of Schultz's Foxcatcher book was released in November, with the help of sports writer David Thomas.