Stephen Frears’ Lance Armstrong biopic starts filming Friday

Extras wanted; David Millar to provide technical advice

by John Stevenson   October 16, 2013  

Lance Armstrong @ Santos TDU 2010 (Photosport International)

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.

15 user comments

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Is Millar going to make sure the doping scenes are perfect?

posted by morethansonglyrics [56 posts]
16th October 2013 - 12:35

15 Likes

Meow !

mingmong's picture

posted by mingmong [228 posts]
16th October 2013 - 12:57

7 Likes

Rolling On The Floor

Endorphines going up and adrenaline going down, who needs drugs?

posted by banzicyclist2 [281 posts]
16th October 2013 - 13:26

7 Likes

Well, though I understand we will get a LA movie whether we want one or not, the fact this has gone into production will hopeful kill the other movies off. It has a good director, good, young (and believably fit as a cyclist) actor. The story needs telling, but not three times. And Bradley cooper is just too big, unless he shaves his head and appears as Bjarne Riis.

Any room for Vincent Cassel as someone french in 'UCP'?
Millar cameo as himself?


I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1613 posts]
16th October 2013 - 13:53

12 Likes

It's been filming already. Some cycling pros have been in France the last two weeks riding as body doubles apparently...who for Lance? who for Hincapie?

posted by brackley88 [96 posts]
16th October 2013 - 14:38

7 Likes

Would it not been better to film it in the off season when West Brom don't need him Wave Wave Wave Wave

*closes door on the way out*

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9208 posts]
16th October 2013 - 15:54

11 Likes

good or bad, come on, CYCLING on the BIG screen...WOW!
as they say: "any publicity is good publicity"
ignore the bad and enjoy the cycling Smile

posted by Gary rb [20 posts]
16th October 2013 - 16:03

8 Likes

mingmong wrote:
Meow !

http://i.imgur.com/Zx41wKS.gif

posted by farrell [1738 posts]
16th October 2013 - 16:59

16 Likes

Frears may pull it off. As the director of the lost - but mark my words - soon to be 'rediscovered' by the trendies classic The Hit and The Grifters he's probably our best living unsentimental director.

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

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1123 posts]
16th October 2013 - 17:23

8 Likes

Lets hope Steven Berkoff can reprise his role as the head of the UCI Ernst Hagemann from The Flying Scotsman

posted by fiftyacorn [91 posts]
16th October 2013 - 19:55

11 Likes

I'll wait for the Spielberg adaptation. You know the one where Lance gets caught but redeems himself by adopting a lost alien and training it to win the TdF.

The Human Cyclist A blog. Try it, you might like it...

sm's picture

posted by sm [360 posts]
16th October 2013 - 20:13

7 Likes

Gary rb wrote:
good or bad, come on, CYCLING on the BIG screen...WOW!
as they say: "any publicity is good publicity"
ignore the bad and enjoy the cycling Smile

Never seen American Flyers? (skinny) Kevin Costner's mustache and mullet are magnificently aero.


I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1613 posts]
16th October 2013 - 22:44

6 Likes

Is Ben Kinglsey playing Pantani?

posted by iamelectron [138 posts]
17th October 2013 - 10:30

5 Likes

21 Days in Tape.

posted by dogcc [133 posts]
18th October 2013 - 20:27

2 Likes

Gkam84 wrote:
Would it not been better to film it in the off season when West Brom don't need him Wave Wave Wave Wave

*closes door on the way out*

currently sidelined with a foot injury... so could probably do with the training.. Nerd

posted by martyntr [120 posts]
19th October 2013 - 9:42

2 Likes