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.
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.