According to the Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment One is in talks to acquire the North American rights to The Program, Stephen Frears’ (Philomena) drama on professional racing cyclist, Lance Armstrong. Footage of the Working Title/Studio Canal biopic was screened earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival.
Ben Foster (Lone Survivor) stars as Armstrong, who was initially celebrated for his seven consecutive Tour de France wins between 1999 and 2005, even after his diagnosis of advanced testicular cancer. The former champion was stripped of his titles in 2012 on doping charges brought to light by Irish sports journalist, David Walsh – who will be played by Chris O’Dowd (St. Vincent) – in the film. Other cast members include Lee Pace (The Hobbit series) and Jesse Plemons (the upcoming Black Mass).
John Hodges (Trainspotting) adapted the screenplay from Walsh’s book, Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong. The film is produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Tracey Seaward and Kate Solomon. Olivier Courson, Ron Halpern, Amelia Granger and Liza Chasin are the executive producers.
The Program is the first narrative feature on the disgraced cyclist; previous documentaries have been released, most notably Alex Gibney’s The Armstrong Lie, which also premiered at TIFF two years ago, and Alex Holmes’ Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story which aired on Showtime in 2014.
The Program will have its world premiere on September 13th as a Gala Presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival.