Race to screen Lance Armstrong movie hots up: Bradley Cooper signs up for biopic
Four movies in progress about disgraced Tour de France star
Actor Bradley Cooper, nominated for an Oscar for his performance in Silver Linings Playbook, is in talks to appear in one of the three Lance Armstrong dramatic movies currently in development, according to Deadline.com.
The movie, which has the working title Red Blooded American, will be directed by Jay Roach (Austin Powers) and backed by studio Warner Brothers. Cooper, who looks set to come on board as a producer as well as appearing in the film, will play either Armstrong or Tyler Hamilton.
Hamilton, a former team-mate of Armstrong, confessed to doping and detailed what he’d seen of doping practices in Armstrong’s team in an interview with US current affairs TV show 60 Minutes, and later fleshed out his story in his book with Daniel Coyle, The Secret Race.
That interview was a crucial step in Armstrong’s downfall as the evidence against him became overwhelming.
He was subsequently stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and numerous other victories after the US Anti-Doping Agency found he had used and orchestrated a doping program at the US Postal and Discovery teams.
Warner Brothers has the rights to Hamilton’s life story so Red Blooded American may focus on the events covered in Hamilton’s book.
However, Cooper is a busy man, so it may be that the race to get a dramatic version of Lance Armstrong’s life to the screen will be won by one of the other two players on the board.
Director Steven Frears (The Queen, High Fidelity) is also working on a Lance Armstrong project, to star Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma, X-Men: The Last Stand), who bears a resemblance to Armstrong. They 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.
Director JJ Abrams (Lost, Star Trek) is also working on an Armstrong movie based on the forthcoming book Cycle Of Lies: The Fall Of Lance Armstrong by New York Times sportswriter Juliet Macur.
At the head of the pack, though, is a documentary by Oscar-winner Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Taxi to the Dark Side). Called The Armstrong Lie, it will be released by Sony Pictures Classics later this year.
Gibney set out to chronicle Armstrong’s comeback in 2009 and was granted “unlimited and unprecedented access to Armstrong” according to producers Frank Marshall and Matt Tolmach. That access came in rather handy in 2012 when Armstrong admitted to doping.