Matt Damon tipped to play Lance Armstrong in film adaptation of The Secret Race

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

by Simon_MacMichael   October 31, 2012  

Matt Damon (Nicolas Genin, Wikimedia Commons)

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...
 

52 user comments

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Bez from The Happy Mondays as Sean Yates?

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1031 posts]
31st October 2012 - 19:33

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Do you think Robin Williams will play himself - or is he still in denial?

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1031 posts]
31st October 2012 - 19:33

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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 )

posted by james-o [188 posts]
31st October 2012 - 19:47

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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

posted by Simmo72 [274 posts]
31st October 2012 - 20:07

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Levi Leipheimer as Phil Ligget
Phil Ligget as Levi Leipheimer

posted by TheBigMong [218 posts]
31st October 2012 - 20:09

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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.

posted by TheBigMong [218 posts]
31st October 2012 - 20:17

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

Jabba the Hut?

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
31st October 2012 - 20:51

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going to struggle with the Caradine angle Angel

lostinfrance's picture

posted by lostinfrance [14 posts]
31st October 2012 - 21:34

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The Rumpo Kid wrote:
antonio wrote:
forget my last post, no one greasy or slimy enough for that part.

Jabba the Hut?

Donald Trump

posted by TheBigMong [218 posts]
31st October 2012 - 21:35

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_SiD_'s picture

posted by _SiD_ [179 posts]
31st October 2012 - 21:55

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John Goodman for Pat McQuaid
John Travolta for Armstrong

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1036 posts]
31st October 2012 - 22:06

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Sean Kelly or Stephen Roche to play Mcqaid. Paul Weller to play Bradley Wiggins in a 'Back to the Future' type of ending, where the UCI is headed by Bradley Wiggins and Dave Brailsford. I'm sure make up could do something with Ross Kemp (Grant Mitchell, East Enders)

tommy2p

posted by tommy2p [84 posts]
31st October 2012 - 22:29

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James Franco, definitly, for Lance Armstrong

André Felipe

posted by andrefelipe72 [1 posts]
31st October 2012 - 22:37

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Liam Neeson studied and worked in Dublin for a while. I bet he could do a pretty good south-side Dub accent if cast as McQuaid. Smile

Angelina Jolie as Betsy Andreu.
Sylvester Stallone as Paul Kimmage.

posted by Paul J [558 posts]
31st October 2012 - 23:20

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Schwarzenegger as Jens Voigt.

posted by Rushie [32 posts]
31st October 2012 - 23:23

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Javier Bardem for Contador. No, wait, that won't work. Bardem's a good actor.

posted by Rushie [32 posts]
31st October 2012 - 23:27

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Rushie wrote:
Schwarzenegger as Jens Voigt.

Chuck Norris as Jens Voigt.

Or would that lead to an 'unstoppable force meets unmoveable object' scenario?

Rob

posted by robert.brady [146 posts]
31st October 2012 - 23:42

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Robin Williams in crazy mode as Dr Ferrari.

Actually I think it could be the next Muppet Movie...

Sq

Squiggle's picture

posted by Squiggle [414 posts]
1st November 2012 - 0:00

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Andy Murray as Lance Armstrong ....
seeing as cycling is so easy Smile

colhum1's picture

posted by colhum1 [98 posts]
1st November 2012 - 0:02

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The Rumpo Kid wrote:
antonio wrote:
forget my last post, no one greasy or slimy enough for that part.

Jabba the Hut?

The stuff that oozes out of Jabba the Hut's fat folds would be more like it (allegedly.)

TheBigMong wrote:
Donald Trump

Oh, you beat me to it.

MercuryOne wrote:
Bez from The Happy Mondays as Sean Yates?

Brilliant. And, in a similar vein, how about Shaun Ryder as Flandis, Mark E. Smith as Tyler Hamilton, and Bryan Ferry as Eddy Merkx. Paul Weller, of course, to play Brad Wiggins in the 2009 Tour.

And Chris de Burgh as Johan Bruyneel (there is no physical resemblance, but he is the only person in music I can think of who has an equivalent aura of pure evil.) On second thoughts, Jeremy Kyle was born for the role of the Dark Lord.

posted by handlebarcam [527 posts]
1st November 2012 - 0:18

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liam.cahill1 wrote:
Harry Enfield as Tommy Vockler Smile

Ah at last someone can see the resemblence, they must be twins seperated at birth Big Grin Big Grin

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2665 posts]
1st November 2012 - 10:58

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Enough already!

Sudor

posted by Sudor [179 posts]
1st November 2012 - 11:03

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Kevin Costner after his sterling performance in American Flyers. Must be a role for him in there somewhere! Wink

onthebummel48's picture

posted by onthebummel48 [11 posts]
1st November 2012 - 11:28

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Why not Steve Bushemi as Jonathan Vaugtners?
John Malcovich as Marco Pantani

Chuckle borthers as Pat and Verbruggan?

posted by georgee [137 posts]
1st November 2012 - 11:44

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It might work as a Western:
Gollom, as drug cheat Kid Armstrong, walks into the bike shop, sorry, onto the ranch and watches riders in the corale on wild bikes, sorry, stallions and says, "Mister, I can tame that wild beast over yonder, for ya!".
"Hey, everyone! Listen to this!" the head coach, sorry, wrangler calls out to the other riders, "The kid, here, reckons he can tame ol'Trek!" Hoots of derision follow
"Ok, kid. Well, wadya waitin' for?" the head wrangler gestures to Kid Armstrong and ol'Trek.
A determined-looking Kid Armstrong saunters into the corale and, after looking ol'Trek clean in the handle-bar, I mean eye, jumps aboard ol'Trek.
Well, ol'Trek fought and fought but Kid Gollom, I mean Armstrong, held on tight and tamed the steed.
"Well, Tex, you've got the gig! Start on Monday," said the head wrangler.
"Why thank you, sir," said Kid Armstrong. "Mind if I bring along my own performance-enhancing drugs?"
Yee-haa!!

posted by cyclist67 [13 posts]
1st November 2012 - 11:59

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Meryl Street as Armstrong in 'Swindlers Test'

posted by robert_obrien [117 posts]
1st November 2012 - 12:22

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Actually, old rubber lips himself, Rowan Atkinson, as Tommy "The Gargoyle" Voeckler Thinking

Cycling - not just a pastime or sport - free your soul on the open road.

timbola's picture

posted by timbola [203 posts]
1st November 2012 - 13:40

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Christopher Lee as Dr Moral or Dr Ferrari ... or, in fact, as any evil doctor-type as long as he wears a cape and has those pointy teeth Devil

Cycling - not just a pastime or sport - free your soul on the open road.

timbola's picture

posted by timbola [203 posts]
1st November 2012 - 13:43

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Ewan McGregor as Lance. He did OK in Trainspotting.

posted by mbrads72 [115 posts]
1st November 2012 - 13:43

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Brad Davis (that guy from Midnight Express) always seemed to me like Lance's twin brother:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001113/
http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m41dp8s7NW1r9xykx.jpg

Debarrio

Debarrio's picture

posted by Debarrio [78 posts]
1st November 2012 - 16:30

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