POSTED: June 30th 2013

New film hopes to capture Wrestling's value to help its case for Olympic Programme reinstatement

Mark Ruffolo in the film Foxcatcher as Dave Schultz / Just Jared
Mark Ruffolo in the film Foxcatcher as Dave Schultz / Just Jared

CHAD WISE / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Bennett Miller, director of the upcoming wrestling film “Foxcatcher,” finds himself a fan of the Olympic sport fighting to stay on the Olympic Programme during his work, which he described as “deeply moving and highly personal.”

“The reason why people wrestle felt more pure to me,” Miller told The Associated Press. “If you’re in that sport, you’re not doing it for money and you’re not doing it to become famous. I found that an impressively high concentration of people were in it [for] the intrinsic values of it."

Miller, known for his recent baseball film “Moneyball,” has cast Channing Tatum as Mark Schultz, an Olympic wrestler whose brother was killed by a schizophrenic. Mark Ruffalo and Steve Carell round out the cast in the film Tatum described as “the hardest movie I’ve ever done – emotionally, physically.”

The International Olympic Committee removed Wrestling earlier this year from the Olympic Programme beginning at the 2020 Summer Games, though it is one of three sports shortlisted for reinstatement. FILA, the international federation for the sport, has made changes to Wrestling’s format in an attempt to make it more appealing for the Games.

The film is years in the making and Ruffalo is now assisting the U.S.-based Committee to Preserve Olympic Wrestling. He also attended the recent “Rumble on the Rails” exhibition at New York’s Grand Central Station in May. Ruffalo wrestled from seventh grade to 11th grade at the behest of his father, himself a wrestler in his youth.

“It shows that the sport has motivated people to move to keep it in the Olympics and motivated enough people to push the IOC to reconsider,” Ruffalo said. “[Wrestling] was profound for me. It was probably the most – as far as training for the world, my career and success – wrestling played a big part in that.

“The amount of discipline and determination and will and just moxie that you have to have to be a wrestler.”

The cast of “Foxcatcher” worked with members of USA Wrestling to prepare for filming.

“They really opened up their arms to me once they saw I could really wrestle,” Ruffalo said. “They’re a very tight-knit group of people that are protective of their sport – it’s just a classy, classy, classy group of people.”

“Foxcatcher” is scheduled for a late 2013 release date. The IOC will determine which of the three shortlisted sports – Wrestling, Squash, and a combined bid from Baseball/Softball – will be reinstated to the Olympic Programme for the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Summer Games at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires 7 September.

Keywords · Wrestling · Olympics · International Olympic Committee · Mark Ruffalo · Channing Tatum · Steve Carell · FILA ·

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