In Foxcatcher, the wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) is being supported by the excentric millionaire du Pont (Steve Carell).

Mark is very thankful for the purpose and trust du Pont provides him with and du Pont seems to be happy to have someone to mentor.

At some point in the movie the relationship starts to change when du Pont introduces Mark to drugs and he becomes apparently addicted. We also see him drinking a lot and not taking his training as serious as before. Mark starts to slip, but he also seems to do more things for du Pont now (cutting his hair) and changes his appearance to more of a sunny boy style.

What I did not quite understand, or maybe just missed:

Did Mark and du Pont have a sexual relationship? If yes, was it completely consensual or did du Pont force Mark into it?

I feel like this is hinted at by some scenes like the drug/hair cutting scene, but never clearly stated.

There is also a very weird scene where du Pont wakes up Mark in the middle of the night for a "wrestling" session in the gym. (Not sure if this was ambiguous.)

  • I tried to keep spoilers out of the title. Seeing as the question is very specific, I couldn't think of a better way than keeping the title ominous.
    – magnattic
    Jan 13, 2015 at 16:33

2 Answers 2


I think the movie is purposely not specific about what exactly happened behind closed (gym) doors. It artfully avoids an outright depiction of some act or another, instead showing a non-sexual scene that has largely the same feel of borderline-nonconsensual sexual encounter: Dupont demanding Mark join him for a late-night, no-one-else-there wrestling session.

IMHO the most important aspect of Dupont's relationship with Mark was that Dupont was using Mark to get to Dave Schultz. Dave was a well liked, highly talented wrestling coach -- what Dupont always wanted to be. In his rare moments of honesty with himself, Dupont knew he could never be like Dave, so he sought to be near Dave.

One of the movie's sleight-of-hand moves is it opens as if Mark is the fox Dupont is hunting. But signs emerge suggesting otherwise:

  • Dupont quickly asks "where's Dave?" after Mark first reports to Foxcatcher
  • Dupont sneers when Mark says "Dave can't be bought"
  • Dupont actually does "buy" Dave, and Dupont's shift of attention to Dave builds to Mark's eventual departure
  • Dupont doesn't seem to care about Mark's departure but snaps when Dave begins to draw boundaries (1. shoos him off on "family day" 2. doesn't compliment him in documentary)

Dave is the fox. Mark is the bait.

As time went by, Mark actually grew attached to Dupont -- but Dupont saw himself in Mark's awkward friendlessness, and hated that. After Dupont mentioned having just one friend, Mark opened up his hard shell and confessed that he also had only one friend -- at which Dupont did not sympathize, but instead laughed and looked away dismissively. For Dupont, Mark was a means to Dave, and along the way a toy of whom Dupont eventually tired.

  • This very reasonable approach on the matter and DuPont's relationship to Dave might actually lead to some interesting and new insights on this related question. Care to take a look at it and see if you can find a new answer for it?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jan 18, 2016 at 17:20

I definitely got that impression as well and expected to see an explanation at some point before the movie was over, but as you already know, it's never really explained.

I do know that Du Pont was married to a woman for a time, if that means anything:

At the age of 45, on September 3, 1983, he married 29-year-old Gale Wenk, an occupational therapist. [source]

But they were divorced after only 10 months.

There is no mention of homosexuality in Du Pont's wiki, and if it was a common rumour I would probably expect it to be in there somewhere.

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