EXCLUSIVE: Paramount and JJ Abrams and Bryan Burk’s Bad Robot are gearing up on their film about disgraced bike racer Lance Armstrong. I’m told that they are setting D.V. DeVincentis to write the script for a movie centering around the book Cycle Of Lies: The Fall Of Lance Armstrong by Juliet Macur. She’s the reporter who covered Armstrong for more than a decade at The New York Times. That period spanned his near-fatal bout with testicular cancer to his capturing glory with seven Tour de France titles. Those honors have been stripped after Armstrong finally copped to the swirl of rumors that he engaged in doping that upped his endurance and strength and made him unbeatable.
Paramount is in a three-bike race to make movies on Armstrong, and I’m not sure all three of these will happen, as compelling as the arrogant Armstrong’s downfall might be. Paramount was actually the first studio to declare it would make an Armstrong project, but since then, two other substantial film projects have cropped up. That includes the Studio Canal-funded, Working Title-produced pic that Stephen Frears is directing with Lone Survivor’s Ben Foster playing Armstrong and Chris O’Dowd playing journalist David Walsh, from a script by Trance‘s John Hodge. He adapted sportswriter Walsh’s book Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit Of Lance Armstrong. That movie’s almost done shooting, and surely will be first to the screen.
At the same time, Warner Bros, Atlas Entertainment and director Jay Roach are pedaling hard on Red Blooded American, which Deadline told you in August got a boost when Bradley Cooper entered into talks to come aboard as a producer, with the intention to play one of the two major roles in the film. The other major role is Tyler Hamilton, the former Armstrong teammate who was part of Armstrong’s inner circle on the US Postal Service Team and came forward and told in a 60 Minutes segment what he saw Armstrong doing. Hamilton was the recipient of blistering attacks from Armstrong for breaking what had been a closed circle. It is unclear when Roach gets to this one.
DeVincentis is currently adapting the classic series Night Stalker for Disney and Edgar Wright, and he’s also scripted Bengali Detective for Fox Searchlight. He’s repped by UTA and Management 360.