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Channing Tatum on filming Foxcatcher: “We left it all on the mat”

Channing Tatum, who portrays Olympic gold medalist wrestler Mark Schultz in the upcoming movie “Foxcatcher”, described the process of filming the drama “tortuous” but ultimately rewarding given the film’s reception at the Cannes Film Festival, according to a video interview posted on YouTube Tuesday.

In a 90-second red carpet interview at Comic-Con in San Diego to promote his voice role in the animated comedy “Book of Life” to be released in theaters in October, Tatum opened his discussion about his “Foxcatcher” experience by saying, “I love doing new things that are pushing me and stretching me.”

The 32-year-old star of movies such as “Magic Mike” and “22 Jump Street” then quickly shifted gears, saying, “’Foxcatcher’ specifically was a tortuous movie. We left it all on the mat, to use a wrestling term…”

Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, who played Mark Schultz’s brother Dave, who also won a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics, both did their own wrestling scenes for the movie, oftentimes working with actual wrestlers who played their opponents. In addition, beyond the physical demands, the emotional nature of the movie – which includes the murder of Dave Schultz at the hands of John du Pont, multimillionaire owner of the Foxcatcher wrestling training facility, played by Steve Carell – was a mentally challenging experience.

Despite the rigors of working on “Foxcatcher”, Tatum discovered a rewarding payoff.

“To get to go to Cannes, I’ve never been to Cannes, to have (“Foxcatcher”) received like it was, was truly awesome,” said Tatum. “It was like being a gladiator walking into the arena…”

“Foxcatcher” made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May, where it received a standing ovation from the audience. The movie earned uniformly excellent reviews from major film critics in attendance, some who went so far as to write that “Foxcatcher” and its stars would be in the running for Oscars in 2014. In addition, Bennett Miller was honored with the “Best Director” award.

“Foxcatcher” will make its North American debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. The movie will open in theaters in the US on November 14.

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