Lance Armstrong movie in the works with Seabiscuit screenwriter

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I hate sports more than anything else in the world. I hate it more than dieting, loud gum chewers on the train, and Bernie Madoff. This is hardcore. But I ultimately fail in my complete and utter devotion to hating sports: I really, really love inspirational sports movies. I even love a bad sports movie. You couldn’t get me to sit through a bad romantic comedy – hell, even a “good” romantic comedy (like there is such a thing) – if you dangled a box of ding dongs above my head. But I’d sit in an old rusty pokey nailed chair and happily watch “Leatherheads” without making a peep. And let me tell you something, if you’re willing to sit through that movie, then you are truly devoted.

So even though I really don’t care for Lance Armstrong as a person (I’ll never get over his dumping Sheryl Crow, then years later blaming it on her biological clock), I’m pretty damn excited that the biopic about his life is finally being made. If I were just one ounce less cool I’d already be standing in line at the movie theater wearing Livestrong bracelets up to my elbows.

It looks like the Lance Armstrong biopic is finally pedaling forward. The long-gestating Columbia project has brought on a writer well-versed in sports comeback stories and could shoot as early as next year, according to producer Frank Marshall. Gary Ross, who wrote and directed multiple-Oscar nominee “Seabiscuit,” has been hired to pen the Armstrong script. “We knew Gary well from is work on ‘Seabiscuit’ and thought he’d be perfect for this,” said Marshall, who also produced the Depression-era tale with producing partner Kathleen Kennedy.

The story of Armstrong’s improbable comeback from illness to win seven consecutive Tour de France titles — and his capturing of the American imagination in doing so — carries echoes of “Seabiscuit,” which told of a long-shot racehorse’s unlikely victories and the manner in which they inspired the country.

The pic is based on Armstrong’s first book, the 2000 tome he wrote with Sally Jenkins titled “It’s Not About the Bike,” which traces his story from his difficult Texas upbringing, his cancer diagnosis in 1996, his relationship to first wife Kristin, the birth of their child and his remarkable comeback from illness that saw him first win the Tour de France in 1999. (He also founded the Live Strong foundation, became the subject of unproven doping allegations, etc, though much of that happened later.) Armstrong of course went on to win six more titles in cycling’s biggest race, before retiring upon the completion of the 2005 Tour de France.

The movie’s development has faced more obstacles than a long-distance bike race. Columbia topper Matt Tolmach is a known cycling enthusiast who helped get the project into gear back in 2006. But the project has had to climb a number of hills, including casting-related questions. (Jake Gyllenhaal reportedly was interested and even spent time with Armstrong to research the role but did not wind up coming aboard.)

It was, however, Armstrong’s unlikely attempt to come out of retirement this year to try to win a record eighth title that helped kick-start the project. “We got inspired by his comeback, and we were able to (get going again),” Marshall said. Matt Damon is the latest actor to have been mentioned as a possible Armstrong, though there remains no official casting on the pic.

[From Risky Business Blog]

Say what you will about him as a person, but I still think Lance Armstrong’s life could make for an incredibly interesting movie. He’s still done a lot of good and helped raise a ton of money for cancer research. He’s got that enduring spirit that’s just made for the inspirational sports genre. And hey, if they wanted to do a tie-in, Sheryl Crow could score the film. Or maybe not. I’m under the impression things are still a little tense between those two. The whole thing about her biological clock putting too much pressure on their relationship, coupled with Lance’s recent new baby, might be a bit too much. But I’m sure there will be lots of other lady loves they could feature, should they choose to include that aspect of Armstrong’s life.

One of the keys to a good inspirational sports movie is showing the athlete’s weakness and frailties, which they must give in to every now and then. Which makes me wonder: will that be cancer, or will they possibly touch on the doping rumors as well?

Lance Armstrong is pictured at the Nike Sportswear launch in Los Angeles on March 6. Photo credits: WENN.

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8 Responses to “Lance Armstrong movie in the works with Seabiscuit screenwriter”

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  1. pomme says:


  2. Codzilla says:

    I don’t care about Lance Armstrong, but I do feel compelled to point out that “Seabiscuit” is an incredible book.

  3. TinaWithPom says:

    A movie that I WON’T be seeing. This guy was an atrocious douchebag, a first-class a-hole, and I’m glad Sheryl Crow got out of that relationship. What he said about Sheryl reminded me of how utterly selfish, immature, and CRUEL many men out there can be. Like a few of my own exes. *Shudders*

  4. Eden says:

    What a LOSER! I want them to make a movie about him so American CITIZENS can piss on him!!!!

  5. boomchakaboom says:

    Jaybird, let me say AMEN. I, too, am the eternal fan of all sports related movies.

    It matters not what Lance Armstrong is or isn’t as a boyfriend, but he is an awesome athlete whose accomplishments are nothing short of heroic and inspiring.

  6. Dolkite says:

    Will it end with him pitching junk energy drinks online to gullible nitwits?

  7. smartguyhere says:

    Finally people get how lance is thankgoodness for people who are smart. aka jaybird and boomchakabo

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