No Holds Barred: Mark Schultz on 'Foxcatcher'

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No Holds Barred: Mark Schultz on 'Foxcatcher'

Post by nhbnews on Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:22 am





On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with the 1984 Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion in freestyle wrestling for the U.S., a three-time NCAA Div. I wrestling champion at Oklahoma, and 1-0 MMA fighter, wrestling legend Mark Schultz.

The book of his life story, Foxcatcher: The True Story of My Brother's Murder, John du Pont's Madness, and the Quest for Olympic Gold, written with sportswriter David Thomas, has just been released.

The film Foxcatcher, which is a dramatization based on that book and focuses on the events surrounding the 1996 murder of his brother, fellow Olympic, world, and national champion wrestler Dave Schultz, by the crazed multi-millionaire John du Pont, was released in New York and Los Angeles November 14, and will be released in many more cities around the world in the coming weeks and months.

We spoke with Mark Schultz by Skype Wednesday.

The movie has already been widely mentioned in the film media as a major candidate for numerous Academy Award nominations. In particular, the performances of actors Steve Carell (du Pont), Channing Tatum (Mark Schultz), and Mark Ruffalo (Dave Schultz) have all been singled out as extraordinary, as well as the directing of Bennett Miller. The film is already being recognized as a major work of art, and easily the most important film ever made involving wrestling.

Speaking about the film, he said, "It's like epic. There are so many themes and undertones and metaphors."

He noted, "It's like a Greek tragedy about what happens when everything can be had at a price. And it teaches people, too -- it's about what happens when these worlds collide."

Stressing that the film's story has lessons which go far beyond the particulars of this one tragic tale, he said, "It's a movie for people who like to think."

But the film will also have an effect on the sport of wrestling, since the murder of Dave Schultz took place on du Pont's Foxcatcher estate while Dave was employed there as a wrestling coach.

The film, Mark said, "is going to make wrestling a part of pop culture."

But besides showing the countless benefits of wrestling, such as building character, molding one's body and mind through hard training, etc., the film, along with Mark's book, also demonstrates the weaknesses in the governance of the sport of wrestling. The result has been that wrestling legends like Mark and Dave Schultz, in Mark's own words in his book, "were having to stoop to rely on a lowlife like John du Pont to survive."

He also said that the most important thing to him in this whole project of this book and film is "immortalizing my brother." Few will argue that he has not succeeded in doing precisely that.

We also discussed more on what wrestling needs to do in order to become self-sustaining, the appeal of submission wrestling and catch wrestling, his training in jiu-jitsu and his one pro fight in UFC in 1996, his experience seeing his project bloom from a draft of his book into a major motion picture and autobiography, his connecting with the actors in the film and in particular with Channing Tatum, his current activities of doing public speaking and conducting seminars, and much more.

The No Holds Barred recommendation: For Mark's whole story, get the book. It is a must-read, whether or not you know much about wrestling. For a dramatization which will also go down in history, watch the film. It is a must-see.

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Thanks, Eddie Goldman
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Re: No Holds Barred: Mark Schultz on 'Foxcatcher'

Post by nodogoshi on Sat Nov 22, 2014 12:50 pm

I just picked up a copy and started reading this today.

It really is a pretty captivating read.

I didn't know that Mark Schultz had grown up some in Southern Oregon, and attended Ashland High School for a time. I was aware that Dave Schultz is buried in Ashland, but I didn't know the extent of their connections there. Being from Southern Oregon, those parts of the story, and his experiences, really hit home. I can relate quite well with some of his challenges.

I'll probably post again once I've read the rest of the book. I'm just getting into the meat of it now.

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Re: No Holds Barred: Mark Schultz on 'Foxcatcher'

Post by nhbnews on Sat Nov 22, 2014 1:05 pm

Thanks. The book needs to get more attention than even the film. Mark is back living in Oregon now, although he may move soon.

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Re: No Holds Barred: Mark Schultz on 'Foxcatcher'

Post by nodogoshi on Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:48 am

I ended up reading the book in 3 days time (something that I literally never do with a 300 page book).

I mostly just want to say that it was a great read, and that I'd recommend it to anyone.

I read some reviews on Amazon, that were somewhat condescending, such as pointing out how he had stated that before one of his NCAA championship matches, he had prayed to 'god' to strike him down if he lost his match.

The commenter thought this sort of thing to be unique; it didn't strike me as very unique. On the contrary, I felt as though I understood Mark Schultz's story and presentation every step of the way.

The murder of his brother, Dave Schultz, must be terrible beyond words for him. He knew du Pont very well. And Dave Schultz sounds like he was a really good guy. And du Pont was just off his rocker and on drugs (probably; Mark doesn't say he was on drugs, but he does detail how du Pont was a serious drug addict and alcoholic).

Dave Schultz should be alive today. If not for the action of one John du Pont.

Mark Schultz also details that he believes Dave would have qualified for the Olympics, and perhaps meddled in 1996. As Mark states, Dave's weight class was not terribly strong that year, and he had a good shot.


If I can be a literary critic for one moment, the one thing that I wasn't completely convinced of was in regards to his experience at the 1988 Olympics.

I don't mean to doubt him on his recollections or question his integrity. But I was not overwhelmingly convinced that he essentially threw his matches because he didn't want du Pont to get credit for him winning the gold medal.

An athlete in such a position must have many things running through his head. And he probably was indeed thinking of du Pont as well, at the time. Things may be exactly as he presented. But, I wasn't fully convinced as to that part of the presentation. It could be like an excuse for not winning the gold. Not winning an Olympic gold medal (he was a returning gold medalist) is not something that demands any apologies, and I certainly wouldn't suggest that it does. In sports, and in wrestling in particular, very small differences in a match often determine the outcomes. I'm not saying that his result in the 1988 Olympics was anything in the way of negative.

But, once more as a literary critic, I wasn't fully convinced that he indeed threw his matches in the 1988 Olympics, because of du Pont (though he very well may have been speaking entirely truthfully).

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