skip navigation

Catching up with Nancy Schultz about the upcoming movie Foxcatcher

By Pablo Di Maria, 11/10/14, 6:15PM EST


The movie Foxcatcher tells the story of Olympic Wrestling Champion Mark Schultz and paranoid-schizophrenic millionaire coach John du Pont, who murdered Schultz's brother, Olympic Champion Dave Schultz in 1996. Foxcatcher won the “Best Director” category at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival; and won the “Best Actor” category at the International Cinephile Society Awards. Dave Schultz was well loved by everyone in the wrestling community. An even though he was an American, the fans from U.S.S.R/Russia had a lot of respect for Dave.

“Dave and I traveled to Russia many times during his career,” said Nancy Schultz. “I believe we traveled overseas to U.S.S.R/Russia more than 25 times. Dave loved their fans as much as they loved him, thus the reason why he learned how to speak Russian fluently.”

The cast consists of the following actors.

-Steve Carell as John Eleuthère du Pont, American multimillionaire, philanthropist and wrestling enthusiast

-Channing Tatum as Mark Schultz, an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler

-Mark Ruffalo as Dave Schultz, Mark's older brother and du Pont's longtime friend, and an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler

-Vanessa Redgrave as Jean Liseter Austin du Pont, John's mother

-Sienna Miller as Nancy Schultz, Dave's wife

-Anthony Michael Hall as du Pont's assistant

-Guy Boyd as Henry Beck

-Brett Rice as Fred Cole

-Samara Lee as Danielle Schultz

-Jackson Frazer as Alexander Schultz

The film has received acclaim from critics, with many praising the performances of Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 'Certified Fresh' rating of 91%, based on 45 reviews, with an average rating of 8.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A chilling true crime drama, Foxcatcher offers Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum a chance to shine - and all three rise to the challenge". Metacritic gives the film a score of 91 out of 100, based on 11 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". The movie will be released November 14 in Los Angeles and New York. Also, on the 21st in Philadelphia and San Francisco. 

Di Maria - How are Danielle and Alexander handling this stressful time with the release of the movie?

Nancy – There’s no stress going on with Danielle or Alexander. My daughter, Danielle, tells me all the time what a great job Mark Ruffalo did playing Dave. Danielle spend many hours on the set and she got to know Mark, Channing Tatum and Steve Carrell pretty well. Mark did an excellent job trying to portray Dave.

Di Maria – Were you surprised at the great reaction the film got in the Cannes Film Festival?

Nancy –No, not really. Foxcatcher director, Bennett Miller, is great at what he does. We knew he was going to do a great job directing the film. He also directed great films like Capote (2005), which won Broadcast Film Critics Association: Best Picture, Directors Guild of America: Best Director, Independent Spirit Awards: Best Picture, Producers Award and New York Film Critics Circle: Best First Film. Bennett also directed the sport film Moneyball (2011).

Di Maria – Are you still close to the Schultz family?

Nancy –Yes I am. In fact Dave’s dad (Phillip), lives near us in Palo Alto, California. I get to see and talk to him all the time. I also saw Mark a lot during the filming of Foxcatcher. In fact, my nephew (Mark’s son) stays with us in our home in San Carlos, California. Dave’s siblings (Sheina and Michael) will be joining my family and me for Thanksgiving dinner.

Di Maria – Do you believe that DuPont was jealous of Dave’s great personality and didn’t want anyone around Dave?

Nancy –Yes, of course. DuPont was never a great athlete and he wanted to have the same respect the Olympic and World champions used to get by the media and fans. He wanted everyone's attention. He thought highly of Dave and wanted his attention all the time.

Di Maria – When will the fans be able to see the documentary named “Dave”?

Nancy –Funny that you asked this question as they finished production yesterday. In fact, tonight, I will be getting a copy and seeing the documentary for the first time. The documentary was directed by John Greenhalgh, who has directed many independent movies. The film is for wrestlers, and founded by wrestlers. We have been working on this project since 2007. The film will concentrate on interviewing wrestlers who lived in the Foxcatcher farm from 1989-1996 and will tell the real story about the farm.

Di Maria –How are you handling all the media requests to know more about Dave?

Nancy – For me it's an honor to speak about Dave. Every time I get to speak about him, it makes my day. I love to share Dave’s story with those that are interested learning about him.

Di Maria –Were you happy with the performance of Mark Ruffalo as Dave Schultz?

Nancy – Yes I was. Mark trained extensively for almost 8 months to get the character just right. In fact, Mark was a high school wrestler. So he knows the dedication and commitment it takes to become a great wrestler. People don’t know this, but Mark wore Dave’s original glasses and some clothes in the movie.  

Di Maria –Can you please let the wrestling community know how Dave was with Alexander and Danielle?

Nancy –Dave was a great story-teller. He started telling Danielle a bedtime story since she was 2 years old. He would merge all our guests at the time into the story. It didn't matter if they were Russian, Polish, or German, he used to find a way to add them to the story. The way he used to tell the bed time story was great. He continued telling Danielle the story until the day he passed away.

Di Maria – How did Dave and you meet?

Nancy – We met in the University of Oklahoma. At the time I didn’t know a single thing about wrestling. In fact, I thought he was born with cauliflower ears. We dated for almost 4 months before we got married. We were married for 15 wonderful years. 

Thanks to Nancy Schultz for taking her time out of her busy schedule to speak to me.