All of that is true, and much of it is framed in Foxcatcher by the complexities of his personal relationships with the Schultz brothers. That makes dramatic sense, as does the line drawn between the fraying of those relationships and his increasingly erratic behavior as the story winds towards its terrible conclusion. There is also, it must be noted, a fair amount of evidence that the man was just plain bananas. Here are a few additional tidbits about Mr. du Pont that didn’t make it into Foxcatcher:
The Los Angeles Times notes that the final accusation prompted a conference call two months before Dave Schultz’s murder, in which the organization ultimately decided to take no formal steps to disassociate itself with frequent underwriter du Pont. “Du Pont’s most ardent defender during that conference call,” the Times reports, “was Dave Schultz.”
At risk of “fact-checking” the movie, one item that does jump out is the 1988 death of du Pont’s mother, which prompted a renewed interest in wrestling and the build-up of Foxcatcher’s facility. However, she is still very much alive in the mid-‘90s frame of Foxcatcher, played with maximum disapproval by a marvelous Vanessa Redgrave, who fixes him with withering glares and can barely speak of the “low” sport to which he’s tied their family name (they hunt foxes and race horses).
The strained relationship with his mother is floated as one of the possible keys to du Pont’s tenuous grasp on reality, so the fudging of the timeline is understandable. But if additional reading on this man makes one thing clear, it’s that motivations and psychology can only go so far. We want to understand what makes a murderer like du Pont tick, what makes a respectable man snap. But some men are simply mad, and you can only wonder why it took so long for anyone to notice.
Foxcatcher opens Friday.