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Coach is the father. Coach is a mentor. Coach has great power on athlete's life.
~ John du Pont
You got a problem with me?
~ John to Dave Schultz before killing him.

John Eleuthère du Pont is the main antagonist of the 2014 biographical sports-crime film Foxcatcher. He is the paranoid and gruff wrestling coach of the wrestling team "Foxcatcher" who loses his sanity as the film progresses.

He was portrayed by Steve Carell (who also played Trent in The Way Way Back, and voiced Felonious Gru and Dru Gru in the Despicable Me series) in his first antagonistic role.

Biography

Past

John du Pont was born on November 22, 1938, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the youngest of four children. He grew up at Liseter Hall, a mansion built in 1922 in Newton Square, by his maternal grandfather on more than 80 hectares (200 acres) of land given to his parents at their wedding by his maternal grandfather. Both his parents' families had emigrated from Europe to the United States at the beginning of the 19th century and became highly successful.

During the 1920s and 1930s, the couple acquired more land and developed Liseter Hall Farm for Thoroughbred breeding, showing, and racing. His mother retained Liseter Hall Farm after the couple divorced in 1941. John was 2 when his parents divorced. He had two older sisters, Jean and Evelyn, an older brother Henry E. I. du Pont, and a younger half brother, William du Pont III, born of their father's second marriage.

Du Pont graduated from Haverford School in 1957. He attended the University of Pensylvania where he belonged to the Zeta Psi fraternity, and withdrew before completing his freshman year. Du Pont later attended college in Miami, Florida, where he studied under and was mentored by scientist Oscar T. Owre. He graduated from the University of Miami in 1965 with a Bachelor of science degree in zoology. Du Pont went on to complete a doctorate in natural science from Villanova University in 1973.

Sometime around his 30's, John would get into a terrible horse riding accident where he severely injured his testicles and thus, had to get it removed. This moment presumably changed his life forever.

Foxcatcher

In 1987, Olympic wrestling champion Mark Schultz speaks at an elementary school in place of his older brother, Dave. Both are Olympic gold medal winners in 1984, but Mark feels overshadowed by Dave. Mark is contacted by philanthropist and wrestling enthusiast John du Pont, an heir to the E.I. du Pont family fortune, who arranges to fly Mark to his estate in Pennsylvania where du Pont has built a private wrestling training facility. Du Pont invites Mark to join his wrestling team, Team Foxcatcher, to be paid to train for the World Championship. Mark accepts the offer, with du Pont urging him to enlist Dave as well. Dave declines for the sake of his wife and two children, who are settled where they live, so Mark moves to Pennsylvania alone.

Mark stays in a homey guest house ("The Chalet") and is greeted there later in the night by du Pont Through training with his new teammates and du Pont's financial support, Mark excels with Foxcatcher, winning a Gold Medal at the 1987 World Wrestling Championships. Du Pont praises him, and they develop a friendship. Du Pont introduces Mark to cocaine, which he starts to use regularly. He confides in Mark, whom he now calls a true friend, telling him how his mother, Jean du Pont, paid a boy to act as his friend. John organizes and funds an over-50 masters wrestling tournament, which he wins after his opponent is paid to lose the final match. However, Jean tells her son that she believes wrestling is a "low sport" and does not like seeing him "being low". One day, Mark and his teammates in Foxcatcher take the morning off from training to watch mixed martial arts (MMA) on TV. Angered by this (as well as Mark's bitter refusal to be in his brother's presence in Team Foxcatcher), John verbally and physically chastises him; saying that he will enlist Dave by any means necessary while also demanding that Mark work out his differences with his brother as soon as possible.

Dave decides to move with his family to Pennsylvania so he can join Foxcatcher. His self-esteem damaged by du Pont, Mark decides to work and train alone, pushing away both John and Dave. As Team Foxcatcher prepares to enter the preliminaries for the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, John’s mother is escorted into his gym to watch him coach his team. He awkwardly demonstrates basic maneuvers for her and the other wrestlers. Jean leaves in disgust after seeing him give his back to his student.

At the 1988 Olympic Trials in Pensacola, Florida, Mark performs poorly, losing his first match. Angered by his failure, Mark destroys his room and goes on an eating binge, before Dave manages to break into his room and is alarmed at his brother's condition. They work feverishly so Mark can make his weight class. As Mark exercises, Dave prevents John from speaking with Mark. Mark competes well enough to win his match and make the Olympic team. Dave notices that du Pont is absent, learning that he left for Pennsylvania after being told his mother died. After returning to the estate, Mark tells Dave that "you and I both know that I can't stay" at Foxcatcher once the Olympics are over and asks Dave to leave with him. A documentary funded by John about his exploits with Team Foxcatcher is made, during which Dave is asked to praise him as coach and mentor. Mark loses his matches in Seoul, after which he leaves Team Foxcatcher. While Dave continues to live at John’s estate and train with Foxcatcher, as a condition for his remaining, he negotiates an arrangement with du Pont to continue to support Mark financially.

Later, John is seen sitting alone in his mansion's trophy room watching the documentary about Team Foxcatcher, which ends with Mark complimenting him at a ceremony depicted earlier. John calls his bodyguard and drives to Dave's home, where he finds him in the driveway working on his car radio. As Dave approaches John's car to greet him, John shoots him three times at close range before driving off, and Dave's wife, Nancy runs out to her husband, who dies in her arms. John is later arrested outside his own home and died many years later in jail in his 70's.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Steve Carrel who portrayed du Pont claimed that, according to director Bennett Miller's wishes, there was no joking between takes, and he did not socialize with the co-stars after work.
  • Steve Carrel also wore various prosthetic noses with camera and lighting tests. His make-up took two hours to put on, including hairstyling and make-up to change his skin tone.
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