Lance Armstrong has been a household name for over a decade. His inspiring story, his winning ways, and his dedication to charity made him universally beloved and respected. But as we know now, it was all built on lies. If this sounds to you like the stuff of Hollywood, then you are not alone. Two films about Armstrong are said to be in the works, but this is hardly a case of redundancy. There's enough drama in the Lance Armstrong saga to supply an entire franchise.
The first Armstrong film was announced in January and is set to be produced by J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot production company. It will be based on Juliet Macur's upcoming book Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong, which chronicles the 14 tumultuous years between Armstrong's comeback from cancer and his stepping down as the chairman of the Livestrong charity in the wake of his ban from cycling. Though there were early rumors that Bradley Cooper might be on board to play Armstrong, they have been denied up and down. And of course everyone has made a joke about Matthew McConaughey playing both himself and Armstrong.
The truth is, not much is known about the Paramount feature, but there's no doubt that learning how Armstrong was able to maintain his double life should be a fascinating journey. Macur's book seeks to dismantle the elaborate facade built by Armstrong and his co-conspirators over a decade and a half of deception. I'm most excited to learn about Kristin Richard, Armstrong's first wife and alleged doping accomplice. I can only imagine what sort of blackmail was involved in their divorce proceedings if she really was part of the scheme. Add in some classic J.J. Abrams suspense, and we're looking at a potentially excellent movie.
Rumors of the second Armstrong project began to surface after Warner Bros. acquired the life rights to the Tyler Hamilton. Hamilton was Armstrong's teammate, one of many who were threatened to keep quiet about the doping, and it was his damning confession on 60 Minutes that many believe spelled the beginning of the end for Armstrong. The relationship between Armstrong and the rest of the U.S. Postal Service Cycling Team was absolutely full of drama. Jealousy, intimidation, betrayal, this story is sure to have it all. The film would be directed by Jay Roach of the Austin Powers and Meet the Parents trilogies, and written by Scott Z. Burns. Burns' selection seems to make much more sense than Roach's, as he was the one who penned The Informant, and Side Effects.
Each of the two films will be vying for the yellow jersey, but I think there's room for both of them to succeed. The Lance Armstrong story is a once-in-a-generation dethroning of a national treasure, and deserves to be told over and over again.