Lance Armstrong’s story has everything. Victory. Redemption. A Triumph of the Human Spirit. All-American Ambition Shading into Moral Decay. The Enticing Possibility That Matthew McConaughey Could Play Himself.
So we shouldn’t be surprised that two different studios are trying to translate Armstrong’s story to the big screen. In January, reports indicated that J.J. Abrams’s Bad Robot was producing an Armstrong movie for Paramount. (Rumors abounded that Bradley Cooper was in the running for the lead role — rumors which Cooper denied.) Now, Deadline reports that Warner Bros. has acquired an untitled Armstrong project with a script by Scott Z. Burns, who seems well-suited to the material: He wrote The Informant!, a movie about a delusional man fooling investigators, and Side Effects, a movie about how drug use might be bad for you. The film would be directed by Jay Roach. (A source close to the production confirmed the Deadline report to EW.)
Even though it’s tempting to paint this as a race between two competing projects, there’s plenty of material in the Armstrong story. The Warner Bros. film would apparently focus partially on Tyler Hamilton, Armstrong’s former teammate whose damning confession to 60 Minutes initiated the endgame of the Armstrong long con; perhaps that film would focus more on the interaction of the U.S. Postal Service cycling teammates. (The Paramount film is based on Juliet Macur’s upcoming book Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong.) Or maybe Aaron Sorkin will write a Lance Armstrong movie where it turns out he was just trying to bike faster because Rooney Mara dumped him in college. Justin Timberlake could play Matthew McConaughey!
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