It looks like the first dramatic movie about Lance Armstrong to hit the screen will be Stephen Frears’ as-yet-untitled production starring Ben Foster as the disgraced former professional cyclist. Filming starts in London on Friday and the producers recently put out a call for riders, coaches and mechanics to perform as extras.
According to ScreenDaily.com, Chris O’Dowd, best known in the UK as Roy Trenneman in The IT Crowd will play David Walsh in the adaptation of Walsh’s book Seven Deadly Sins. French actor Guillaume Canet (Tell No One) will also appear in a supporting role - we’d guess as Walsh’s long-time collaborator Pierre Ballester - as will Jesse Plemons, most recently seen cooking meth alongside Brian Cranston’s Walter White in Breaking Bad.
The movie will follow Lance Armstrong’s rise and fall, framed by Walsh’s dogged pursuit of the truth after he became suspicious that the Armstrong miracle was in fact the Armstrong lie.
David Millar is reported to be assisting as technical advisor to the movie, so it’s to be hoped the cycling aspects will end up believable.
Director Stephen Frears is known for a string of movies that managed the difficult trick of being both critically acclaimed and commercially successful. His most recent smash was The Queen, starring Helen Mirren, and he also helmed Dirty Pretty Things, High Fidelity and Dangerous Liaisons.
‘Untitled Cycling Project’ as it’s known at production company Working Title, is one of four movies about Lance Armstrong either in the works or about to be released.
The first is Alex Gibney’s documentary The Armstrong Lie, currently in competition at the London Film Festival, and generally getting positive reviews.
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.