Movie Features Local Wrestling Legend Gene Mills [AUDIO]
When legendary wrestler and coach Gene Mills visited the set of the movie 'Foxcatcher,' he took one look at the lead character (Steve Carell) and said he wanted to punch him in the face. That's because Carell was made to look so much like the focus of the movie, John E. duPont, that for a moment he thought is was him.
"I wanted to go over to him and punch him in the face," Mills told WIBX's Bill Keeler. "I told that to Steve Carell and he said, 'I'm glad you didn't,' and he laughed."
LISTEN TO THIS COMPELLING INTERVIEW:
Mills has plenty of reason to hate duPont, an heir to the chemical company fortune, who's deranged relationship with Gene's close friends and Olympic teammates Mark and Dave Shultz, ended in tragedy. Described as paranoid and erratic, duPont was convicted of killing Dave Shultz in 1997.
"I was there," Mills said, speaking of the training camp funded by duPont which is the
focus of the movie. "He was a weird guy and he didn't know anything about wrestling."
Mills was originally going to play himself in the film until producers made a switch and moved Mark Ruffalo into the scene. Mills actually appears in the movie playing a referee. He also worked for producers as a consultant who had the task of teaching the actors how to wrestle so the movie looked realistic.
Teaching novices how to wrestle is nothing new for Mills, who now coaches high school wrestling. Prior to that, he coached the Mohawk Valley Wrestling Club and ran several clinics, teaching young wrestlers how to compete. Long before his teaching days, Mills was considered one of the best in the sport.
He was a New Jersey state high school champion and high school National Champion, a 2-time NCAA Champion, a 4-time All-American at Syracuse University and a 3-time World Cup Champion. He ended his career with a record of 1356-46-1. Mills became the head coach at Syracuse University and is currently the head coach at Phoenix Central School, located north of Syracuse.
Mills was considered one of the best wrestlers in the world in 1979-80. He pinned his way to the United States Olympic team in '80 and was heavily favored to win the gold in the Summer Olympic Games. Ultimately, he was robbed the opportunity to win a gold when President Jimmy Carter decided to boycott the games in the Soviet Union.
"Nobody could beat me," Mills said, "except for this peanut farmer that we knew as our President." The decision by the Democratic President still clearly effects Mills, nearly 35 years later.
The movie Foxcatcher is currently playing in major cities and is expected to make it to theaters in Upstate New York in December.
Watch the Foxcatcher Trailer: