Hot on the heels of news about Alex Gibney’s Lance Armstrong documentary ‘The Armstrong Lie’ comes word that top British director Stephen Frears has been linked to a biopic on the life of the disgraced Tour de France star.
According to deadline.com, actor Ben Foster is in the frame to play Armstrong, to whom he bears a passing resemblance.
Frears is known for a string of critically-acclaimed movies including 2006’s The Queen, and 2000’s High Fidelity. Foster, on the other hand, isn’t quite an unknown, but his highest-profile role to date was as Angel in X-Men: The Last Stand. If we were feeling uncharitable we might say that going from playing a mutant to a drug-fuelled athlete wasn’t a terribly big step.
If everything goes according to plan, the Armstrong movie will start production in the autumn, with a script by John Hodges, who wrote the screenplay for Trainspotting. It will cover Armstrong’s career from his fight with cancer to the drug scandal that led to his downfall.
If all of the Armstrong movies currently in development come to fruition we’ll see something of a glut over the next couple of years, but it’s worth remembering that we’re talking Hollywood here and none of them might actually happen.
As well as the Frears biopic and Gibney’s documentary, two other movies abut Armstrong are in the works.
Warner Brothers has the ‘life rights’ of Tyler Hamilton as part of an Armstrong project. Hamilton’s positive tests, eventual confession of doping and subsequent book ‘The Secret Race’ helped take the lid off the culture of doping in cycling in the early 2000s and at the US Postal cycling team, where he was a team-mate of Armstrong’s. Jay Roach, director of the Austin Powers films, is tipped to helm that one.
Meanwhile director JJ Abrams (Lost, Star Trek) is also working on an Armstrong movie based on the book Cycle Of Lies: The Fall Of Lance Armstrong by New York Times sportswriter Juliet Macur. Abrams is rumoured to spoken to actor Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) about taking on the Armstrong role.
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.