The bizarre and true events at the heart of Bennett Miller’s film Foxcatcher literally fell into his lap when a stranger handed him an envelope of clippings. Since then, Miller spent years researching the story and figuring out the precise way to tell it.
He tells Filmmaker Magazine, “There is a big picture that is essentially what we’re aiming for, but the movie is built on moments, and the pieces themselves are…well, each moment is like its own Fabergé egg. There are no pro forma building blocks for anything, it is about the peculiarity of each moment and finding it and refining it and aligning it within the style and sequencing it in a way that delivers. A film like this is musical – even though there’s not a lot of music in it – and how do you create these moments and scenes and chapters and acts? It’s not just about the plot. The movie is really about what exists underneath the plot, about what is underneath what is spoken. There is so much that is never explicitly expressed in the film that you’re supposed to grasp, and the way that those things are expressed is in between the notes, and that just takes a while. It means when you wrap, you have to put down all of your concepts for a moment and look at what you really have. You need to begin again and say, ‘These are the pieces I have and somehow these pieces are going to add up to the big picture.’ You’ve seen these portraits made up of 10,000 photographs where each photograph is like a pixel in the larger scheme? It’s kind of like that.”
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