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Bourne star had earlier been linked to portray cyclist in happier ending (for Armstrong) film based on It's Not About The Bike...

Matt Damon, once touted to play Lance Armstrong in a film based on It’s Not About The Bike back when that book was still thought of as a factual biography rather than a work of semi-fiction, is now being seen as frontrunner to play the disgraced cyclist in a movie giving a slightly different version of his career.

Damon, known for playing such uncompromising characters as amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne and the identity thief-cum-psychopath Tom Ripley, is widely tipped to play Armstrong in a film based on Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle’s book, The Secret Race.

The book was published in early September days after the United States Anti Doping Agency announced that it had banned Armstrong for life and stripped him of results including his seven Tour de France titles.

It’s now being reported that Damon – at 42, some 11 months older than Armstrong is now, and a good deal older than the Texan was in his prime, but nothing the make-up department and a bit of good old Hollywood magic can't fix - is in line to take the lead role.

However, one industry insider quoted in The Sun said that the absence of a happy ending – for Armstrong, presumably – may prove problematic.

“Most sports films end in an inspirational victory,” said the unnamed source. “It’s hard to work out what the ending would be.

“Lance was a hero before this scandal. The current ending is too depressing. It would be a more appealing story with a more hopeful final act.”

There have of course been plenty of factually based movies that don’t necessarily end with everyone living happily ever after – The Titanic, for example, or to cite one from Armstrong’s home state Texas, The Alamo (although ultimately, the Mexicans did lose).

While it was Damon who was originally viewed as the prime candidate to take on the role of Armstrong had It’s Not About The Bike ever made it into production, it was another actor, Jake Gyllenhaal who later emerged as the favourite to portray him.

In 2006, the Donnie Darko and Brokeback Mountain star even rode alongside Armstrong in the Discovery Channel team car following Yaroslav Popovych in the individual time trial on the penultimate day’s time trial in the Tour de France.

The following day would see Armstrong's former US Postal team mate Floyd Landis seal his overall victory - later, he'd be stripped of that title and of course was one of USADA's prime witneses in its recent investigation.

Armstrong, together with his agent Bill Stapleton, was also reported to have met with Tour de France director Jean-Marie le Blanc and his successor Christian Prudhomme to talk about permission to feature the race in the film, which was being developed by Sony.

Gyllenhaal himself became a big convert to cycling when preparing for a role he would never play, and last year promised a journalist from Men’s Journal magazine a “really fucking hard climb” in an interview conducted on a bike ride around the Hollywood Hills, as you do when promoting your latest movie.

So, assuming the rumours are correct, has the casting director got it spot on in selecting Damon for the Armstrong role? And what about the supporting roles - Hamilton, Landis, Hein Verbruggen, Johan Bruyneel, Michele Ferrari and Motoman? Who should play them?

Let's hear your suggestions in the comments below...
 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

52 comments

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Bigringrider [208 posts] 3 years ago
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Ben Kingsley as Marco Pantani.

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LorneC [49 posts] 3 years ago
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Lee Evans as Tyler

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Chris [154 posts] 3 years ago
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Paul Kimmage to be played by Jason Statham, with Mr Lemond portrayed by an older action hero like David Carradine or Steven Seagal?

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Tony Farrelly [2868 posts] 3 years ago
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The Stig as Motoman…

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Tony Farrelly [2868 posts] 3 years ago
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Owen Wilson as Floyd Landis and maybe Vince Vaughan as Johan Bruyneesl going a bit left field here i'm thinking Father Jack (from Father Ted) as Pat McQaid

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 3 years ago
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I have Motoman covered, just need to work out my fee  4

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_SiD_ [162 posts] 3 years ago
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Albert Finney as Johan Brunyeel, might struggle with the accent.

Liam Neeson as Pat McQuaid, definitely struggle with the accent.

Alan Rickman as Bill Stapleton, could pull the accent off.

Al Pacino as Travis Tygart - (reviving his role as serpico) expect a lot of SHOUTING!!

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notfastenough [3674 posts] 3 years ago
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As above, Pacino and Kingsley as Tygart and Pantani!

Sheryl Crow as... Sheryl Crow.

Any bunch of clowns for the UCI.

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SamShaw [265 posts] 3 years ago
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"However, one industry insider quoted in The Sun said that the absence of a happy ending – for Armstrong, presumably – may prove problematic"

Finish the film in a dodgy massage parlour in downtown Austin? No shortage of happy endings there!  4

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AWPeleton [3293 posts] 3 years ago
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James Corden as Lance, now that would be interesting  13

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 3 years ago
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Apart from Lance, the UCI members and Motoman. I think everyone else would be quite willing to play themselves. Any income to them would be most welcome  3 3

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Liam Cahill [42 posts] 3 years ago
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Harry Enfield as Tommy Vockler  1

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pwake [374 posts] 3 years ago
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Jack Black as Jan Ullrich, preferably seen riding on a diet of Bratwurst, Sauerkraut and Edgar (no national stereotypes there then!)  4

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antonio [1120 posts] 3 years ago
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Why have you left out fat Pat?

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antonio [1120 posts] 3 years ago
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forget my last post, no one greasy or slimy enough for that part.

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BigDummy [314 posts] 3 years ago
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In structure, this is a mob movie not a sports movie*. As such, it does not need a happy ending, although it's going to finish off pretty much where Blood Diamond did.

It needs a cast of young, fit guys in the riding roles. Gyllenhaal would be OK, I also want Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling for it.

*in the same way that Drive is actually a Western.

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theincrediblebike [40 posts] 3 years ago
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Inspector Clousseau as the bungling French police Chief.Might explain a few things.

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Sadly Biggins [269 posts] 3 years ago
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Fozzy Bear as Landis

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Sam1 [220 posts] 3 years ago
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stumps wrote:

James Corden as Lance, now that would be interesting  13

Might be pretty realistic in a couple of years time, If Lance goes the way of the Ben Stiller character at the end of Dodgeball...

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TheBigMong [212 posts] 3 years ago
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It's gotta be Christopher Walken as Bruyneel.

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TheBigMong [212 posts] 3 years ago
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Sean Penn as Tyler Hamilton
Kid Rock as Floyd Landis
Alec Baldwin as Pat McQuaid
Jon Voight as Hein Verbruggen

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WolfieSmith [1318 posts] 3 years ago
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BigDummy wrote:

In structure, this is a mob movie not a sports movie*. As such, it does not need a happy ending, although it's going to finish off pretty much where Blood Diamond did.

It needs a cast of young, fit guys in the riding roles. Gyllenhaal would be OK, I also want Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling for it.

*in the same way that Drive is actually a Western.

I could see this working....  39

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WolfieSmith [1318 posts] 3 years ago
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Bez from The Happy Mondays as Sean Yates?

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WolfieSmith [1318 posts] 3 years ago
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Do you think Robin Williams will play himself - or is he still in denial?

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james-o [234 posts] 3 years ago
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Cleetus the slack-jawed yokel from the Simpsons as Landis

Cartman from South Park as Pat McQuaid

Beavis as The Great Cornholio, to play a dosed-up Armstrong ... "Are you threatening me?! I need E-Po for my bunghole!"

May as well make it a cartoon )

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Simmo72 [603 posts] 3 years ago
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It will need a cameo by lemond, in the background shouting he's lying, he's lying to you all, sorry gotta take this call from trek

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TheBigMong [212 posts] 3 years ago
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Levi Leipheimer as Phil Ligget
Phil Ligget as Levi Leipheimer

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TheBigMong [212 posts] 3 years ago
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Greg LeMond can play the fan whose souvenir musette bag snagged Armstrong's brake lever and caused him to crash in the 2003 Tour.

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 3 years ago
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antonio wrote:

forget my last post, no one greasy or slimy enough for that part.

Jabba the Hut?

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lostinfrance [15 posts] 3 years ago
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going to struggle with the Caradine angle  25

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