Film Producer, UVM Alum Talks Inspiration And 'Foxcatcher'

Dec 3, 2014

Award-winning producer John Kilik, a University of Vermont alumnus, is known for big projects including Babel, Hunger Games and several Spike Lee films. His newest film, Foxcatcher, is a chilling biographical drama that tells the story of Olympic wrestling champion Mark Schultz, played by Channing Tatum, and his relationship with wealthy, disturbed coach John du Pont, played by Steve Carell.

"I grew up outside of New York in a diverse community during a challenging time ... and when I came to UVM in '74, that's what the movies that inspired me were about. They were about people in America and they were rooted in a real place." - Jon Kilik, producer

Kilik was drawn to Foxcatcher’s story from the beginning. “It spoke to me. Both the truth, reality and facts of the story, but also on a much bigger scale. [I was drawn to] the socioeconomic elements of class, power, haves and have-nots in America and the increasing divide. That’s what pulled me into it,” Kilik says.

Many of Kilik’s films seem to have the “David and Goliath” theme. Kilik explains this as having a lot to do with his upbringing: “I grew up outside of New York in a diverse community during a challenging time, in the '60s and '70s, and when I came to UVM in '74, that’s what the movies that inspired me were about. They were about people in America and they were rooted in a real place,” Kilik says.

"Foxcatcher" stars Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. 

Kilik has spent his career telling the stories of people he feels deserve the spotlight. “I think being able to use art to reflect who and what we are as a society is a great opportunity, and also a great responsibility. I think it’s important, whatever sort of responsibility I feel, to shine a light on people in situations that need the attention," Kilik says. "I’ve just found myself gravitating towards that."