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Moneyball, Warrior Directors Parlay Heat Into New Projects

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood September 30, 2011 at 12:03PM

Well, Moneyball director Bennett Miller is riding his current heat to attach Steve Carell to star in his long in-the-works Foxcatcher, which returns Carell to a serious dramatic role. And after grabbing raves for wrestling pic Warrior, Gavin O'Connor has sold his speculative script with co-writer Michael Wilson, The Samurai, to Warner Bros.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Well, Moneyball director Bennett Miller is riding his current heat to attach Steve Carell to star in his long in-the-works Foxcatcher, which returns Carell to a serious dramatic role. And after grabbing raves for wrestling pic Warrior, Gavin O'Connor has sold his speculative script with co-writer Michael Wilson, The Samurai, to Warner Bros.

Carell will play disturbed John Du Pont, a paranoid schizophrenic who was heir to the du Pont chemical fortune. Du Pont created a world-class wrestling training facility, Team Foxcatcher, on his Pennsylvania mansion in the 1990s; in 1996, he shot and killed Olympic gold medalist and close-friend, wrestler David Schultz. While the motivation for the murder was never discovered, it was witnessed by both Schultz's wife and his head of security.

Thompson on Hollywood

E. Max Frye penned the screenplay along with Dan Futterman, who wrote the script for Miller's feature directing debut, Capote. Miller had been developing Foxcacther for the past four years at MRC, and talked to Brad Pitt about playing the role; because they hit it off, Pitt brought Miller in to direct Moneyball, which is a hit with critics and audiences alike. Produced by Miller, Jon Kilik and Anthony Bregman, Foxcatcher is set to start filming in March and is seeking a new distributor. (Here's TOH's interview with Miller.)

While Warrior, starring Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, and Nick Nolte, was a box office disappointment, the movie nonetheless boosted O'Connor's industry cred. The Samurai is about a rogue assassin who escapes from a Texas jail-- fleeing to Costa Rica, Colombia, and Paris--sparking an international manhunt. (Read TOH's interview with O'Connor here.)

This article is related to: Directors, Genres, Headliners, Independents, CASTING WATCH, Drama, Biopics


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.