He went from cancer patient to seven-time Tour de France champion. Now it’s time to rewrite the Lance Armstrong narrative yet again. On Aug. 24 — after years of investigation into whether he has used performance-enhancing drugs — the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency banned the 40-year-old from the sport for life and recommended that he be stripped of his titles. The USADA says the cycling legend triggered the decision when he declined to continue fighting the charges. (Armstrong said he was simply ”finished with this nonsense.”)
So what does that mean for the film version of his 2000 autobiography, It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life? It had been in development since the mid-2000s at Sony Pictures, with Matt Damon and Jake Gyllenhaal — an Armstrong pal and occasional training buddy — reportedly considered for the lead at various points. Producer Frank Marshall (the Bourne franchise) planned to direct, and Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games) was working on the script. But that movie turned out to be a stationary bike — it never went anywhere. Sony did not respond to a call for comment, but sources close to the project tell EW it has been dead for several years.
Meanwhile, another film, this one a documentary, is getting a new life. Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (2007’s Taxi to the Dark Side) chronicled Armstrong’s efforts to come out of retirement for 2009’s Tour de France, but the film — working title: The Road Back — had been stalled as the doping case played out. ”We’ve been waiting for a final chapter,” Gibney tells EW. ”I think this seems a good moment to finish it.” He says he plans to make revisions quickly but doesn’t yet have a timeline for completion. ”It attempts to take stock of an epic tale,” he says, ”and I think it will.”