Thanks to his very public fall from grace, a potential Lance Armstrong project is getting plenty of buzz in Hollywood. With several pre-drug cheat Armstrong projects languishing on the back burner and an Alex Gibney-directed documentary receiving a last minute re-cut, Hollywood is much more interested in Armstrong as a compelling anti-hero drug cheat than a boring old cancer-surviving cycling champion with Matt Damon favored to play the disgraced cyclist.
Armstrong’s 2001 best-selling memoir It’s Not About the Bike had long been optioned by Bourne producer Frank Marshall, and a script by Olympic documentarian Bud Greenspan had done the rounds to no avail. Now that Armstrong has been revealed to be a bit of a physco a-hole who cheated more than death, his story is seen to have more of a bums-on-seats potential. Well not his story exactly, with Tyler Hamilton’s tell-all, The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs firming as the probable source material.
While the Lance story is pretty short on that essential redemption angle that would earn a Hollywood green-light, telling the story from Hamilton’s point of view could spin the tale into a cathartic good-triumphing-over-evil climax. Damon has successfully tried his hand at playing the villain in the The Talented Mr. Ripley, Dogma, and The Departed, and earned himself an Oscar nomination playing South African rugby captain Francois Pienaar in 2009’s Invictus, so he certainly has the range and physical ability. No directors have bee linked to the project but David Fincher’s The Social Network covered some pretty similar themes and he wouldn’t pull any punches.
Robin Williams has yet to confirm that he will play himself as Lance’s eccentric celebrity fan. We can only hope.
At this stage we can probably rule out Ben Stiller as his form on the bike is pretty weak. (Check out the dude on the bike next to Stiller. He’s been jammed with so much blood it’s coming out of his nose!)
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