Sorry, J.J. Abrams and Scott Z. Burns and Jay Roach, while you guys might be cooking up your films about disgraced cyclist and former American hero Lance Armstrong, Stephen Frears has beaten you to the front of the pack. Earlier this year he lined up Ben Foster to play the lead in his film, and now the director has put together a very promising supporting crew to go along with it.
Chris O’Dowd, Guillaume Canet and Jesse Plemons have joined the still-untitled movie that has a script from Danny Boyle regular John Hodge ("Trance," "The Beach," "Trainspotting"). Based on David Walsh's book "Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit Of Lance Armstrong," the film will tell the story of the journalist's (to be played by O'Dowd) journey to expose the cyclist, while also tracking Armstrong's rise and fall. Here's the Amazon book synopsis:
The story of Lance Armstrong—the cyclist who recovered from testicular cancer and went on to win the Tour de France a record seven times, the man who wrote a bestselling and inspirational account of his life, the charitable benefactor—seemed almost too good to be true. And it was.
As early as Armstrong’s first victory on the Tour in 1999, The Sunday Times (London) journalist David Walsh had reason to think that the incredible performances we were seeing from Armstrong were literally too good to be true. Based on insider information and dogged research, he began to unmask the truth. Cycling’s biggest star used every weapon in his armory to protect his name.
But he could not keep everyone silent.
In the autumn of 2012, the US Anti-Doping Agency published a damning report on Armstrong that resulted in the American being stripped of his seven Tour victories and left his reputation in shreds. Walsh’s long fight to reveal the truth had been vindicated. This book tells the compelling story of one man’s struggle to bring that truth to light against all the odds.
And all the gears are being oiled and fined tuned on this one fast, with production to kick off on Friday (yes, this week). So are we looking at an Oscar contender next year? We'll soon see. The project will be shopped at AFM in November, and if a big league American studio signs on, this will be one to keep a keen eye out for in 2014. Until then, here are two clips from Alex Gibney's forthcoming documentary "The Armstrong Lie," which opens on November 8th.