We’re going to gave to wait a little longer to see Steve Carell’s eerie turn as a millionaire chemical heir who turns homicidal in the drama Foxcatcher.
The movie, directed by Moneyball and Capote filmmaker Bennett Miller, was originally set to open Dec. 20, but tonight distributor Sony Pictures Classics announced it would be pushed back to an unspecified date in 2014.
The studio said it supported “the decision of the filmmakers to allow for more time to finish the film,” but there can’t be much enthusiasm for the movie over at the America Film Institute, which had announced plans to feature Foxcatcher as the opening weekend gala at its November film festival.
The movie is a dark, true-life drama starring Carell as mentally unbalanced multi-millionaire John du Pont, who brings chaos and destruction to Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and his older brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo) after sponsoring the younger sibling’s training.
Miller talked to EW’s Adam Markovitz in August about casting The Office actor against type in a decidedly non-comedy role:
“We just had our first test [screening], and not everybody recognized Steve. He is aged [for the film], and his face is changed, and his physicality changed,” says Miller, who explains that the unlikely casting of Carell as a killer is an important part of making the character feel authentic. “If I say I’m going to make a movie about a guy who’s a schizophrenic murderer, there are probably a dozen actors who would immediately appear on anybody’s casting list. And Steve would not be on any of those lists. And that’s a good thing. Because it’s unexpected… John Du Pont was a character who nobody thought was capable of doing something as horrible as he did. And I did not want to cast somebody who would feel dangerous in that way.”
According to Miller, there’s also much more to Carell than his funny-guy roles in The Office and Anchorman might suggest. “I had met Steve before, and there was something about him that really interested me. There’s something guarded and a real intelligence going on behind his eyes,” says Miller. “I love performances like Jerry Lewis in The King of Comedy, and Peter Sellers in everything, and working with Jonah [Hill] in Moneyball. Comedians are dark, but I think we tend to think of them along the lines of what they project. I just think there’s a hell of a lot more to Steve than he tends to show.”
There may be other films exiting the 2013 field. There are rumors Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Wolf of Wall Street will also postpone its release until 2014. It has worked for both of them before as Shutter Island abandoned the 2009 Oscar race and became a blockbusters after pushing back its release into 2010, and last year DiCaprio’s The Great Gatsby did a similar shift into this year, also to great box office success.
While qualifying for the Oscars leads to very crowded multiplexes at the end of the year, a movie can make a lot of money by shifting to the early part of the following year, when quality films are fewer and farther between.