The Tour de France is a month-long marathon grind often won by a few sharp moves that opponents are unable to match. In the race to get a Lance Armstrong biopic on the big screen, we certainly don’t know who will win yet, but for the moment the team at Warner Bros. and Atlas Entertainment may have taken over the yellow jersey.
Red Blooded American will be directed by Jay Roach (The Campaign, Meet the Parents) and backed by the aforementioned companies, and according to Deadline Bradley Cooper is now in talks to produce and star either as Lance Armstrong himself or as Tyler Hamilton, another American cyclist caught doping years prior to Armstrong’s conviction. Hamilton was a former teammate of Armstrong’s, part of his inner circle for several years before striking out as one of the leaders of another team. After Hamilton’s own conviction, he was one of the first to allege firsthand knowledge and provide eyewitness testimony of Armstrong’s guilt publicly. He was roundly attacked by Armstrong’s camp for his testimony.
The Warners/Atlas projet is in direct competition with another biopic from director Stephen Frears (High Fidelity, The Queen) and Working Title which recently pulled in Ben Foster to star as Armstrong. Who gets to the finish line first may largely depend on scheduling, and in that respect the latter project may have the edge. Both Fears’s and Foster’s latest projects, Philomena and Lone Survivor, respectively, are already complete without anything else ready to go at the moment. This means (provided the script is in good shape) both men can focus on filling out the cast and moving straight into production.
On the Roach/Cooper side of things, the picture is a little hazier. Roach isn’t currently in production on anything, but he’s attached to produce a number of projects, including a potential fourth Austin Powers movie (he directed the first three), which could move quickly if some key pieces fall into place and are likely already demanding a fair amount of his time. Cooper directly busy. American Hustle and Serena are both in post production, but both will also demand plenty of his time for publicity. He’ll also begin shooting Cameron Crowe’s next project, a military adventure/comedy co-starring Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Alec Baldwin, and Danny McBride, in the fall. He’s apparently headed to Broadway for a while towards the end of next year, so a spring 2014 shoot would seem to be ideal. He does, however, have a number of other attachments which could prevent that from happening, including American Sniper, which suffered the departure of Steven Spielberg over budget disputes two weeks ago.
In the meantime, moviegoers looking for their Armstrong fix will have to turn to The Armstrong Lie, acclaimed director Alex Gibney’s documentary which started out as a chronicle of his comeback in 2009 but became an inside look at his fall and eventual disgrace. The Armstrong Lie premiers at Toronto International Film Festival early next month.