'Foxcatcher' wrestler follows up on Twitter rant against director

'Foxcatcher' wrestler follows up on Twitter rant against director
Channing Tatum plays Mark Schultz in "Foxcatcher," with Steve Carell as John du Pont. (Scott Garfield/Associated Press)

Olympic gold medal winner Mark Schultz is still unhappy with "Foxcatcher" director Bennett Miller, but the new year appears to have brought out a calmer side to the wrestler, who was portrayed by Channing Tatum in Miller's film.

After months of quiet from Schultz, who appeared to have given the film his approval through posts on social media, the wrestler took to Twitter and Facebook on Tuesday and Wednesday to attack the director, whom he called a "punk" and "liar," among other names.


But on Thursday, a seemingly calmer Schultz posted a follow-up on his Facebook page. While the tone was not as adversarial as before, he didn't back down from his previously stated problems with the film.

"My story and my life are real," he wrote. "I am a real human being. While I may have tweeted out of anger, I in no way regret standing up for myself, nor do I regret calling out the only other man who has had decision making power concerning my image and legacy these past years. I apologize for the harshness of my language, but I am firm in where I stand. I will gladly go to any lengths to protect and safeguard the integrity and truth of my story, my life, my character and my legacy. If that's not worth fighting over while I'm still alive, I don't know what is."

Previously, Schultz had expressed outrage over a growing view among critics that the film carried a homosexual undercurrent when it came to depicting Schultz's relationship with his coach, the millionaire heir John du Pont (played by Steve Carell in the movie).

In a post on Facebook (since deleted), Schultz wrote, "The personalities and relationships between the characters in the film are primarily fiction and somewhat insulting. Leaving the audience with a feeling that somehow there could have been a sexual relationship between duPont and I is a sickening and insulting lie."

He continued, "I told Bennett Miller to cut that scene out and he said it was to give the audience the feeling that duPont was encroaching on your privacy and personal space. I wasn't explicit so I didn't have a problem with it. Then after reading 3 or 4 reviews interpreting it sexually, and jeopardizing my legacy, they need to have a press conference to clear the air, or I will."

At a November film junket for the film, it seemed as if there might be tension between Schultz and the filmmaking team. A request made there to speak to Schultz for a profile of Channing Tatum was rebuffed by Sony Pictures Classics. Despite this, Miller denied there was any bad blood between Schultz and anyone involved with the movie.

"He visited the set for like two days," the director recalled. "[Channing and he] spent a lot of time together. And I spent a ton of time with him too. He remained involved and has been to Cannes and Toronto and the New York Film Festival and everything like that. He was incredibly generous and forthcoming."

In a separate interview with The Times at that junket, though, Tatum said he wasn't surprised that the studio was keeping Schultz away from the press.

"Of course they are weird. That's the studio's initial response," the actor said. "I think he's in a good place. I don't talk to him like that. I know he's coming out with a book and stuff. This has got to be hard for him and very exciting, and I'm sure he doesn't really know how to process it. Because I wouldn't."

Requests for comment from distributor Sony Pictures Classics, Tatum and Schultz were not immediately returned.

Twitter: @patrickkevinday