It was announced in January that Paramount and Bad Robot Partners JJ Abrams and Bryan Burk are going to create a film of the now infamous cyclist Lance Armstrong, who rose to stardom after beating cancer and winning the Tour De France seven times through doping. Paramount has the screen rights to Cycle of lies: The fall of Lance Armstrong, which will be written by Juliet Macur for Harper Collins. Macur is a sports journalist for The New York Times and has followed the life of Armstrong for over a decade, so there is probably nobody better to write a book on him. However, should a film be made?
When the allegations first surfaced properly last year, Armstrong, who had been a hero and role model to so many, vehemently denied any involvement with performance enhancing drugs. However, recently, Armstrong admitted to the scandal on the Oprah Winfrey Show, he also admitted to bullying some of his team mates to ensure their continued loyalty towards him. The sport has taken a beating because of these scandals and a film could damage cycling even more, especially if it’s dramatised through Hollywood. I enjoy films by Abrams and Burk, but they’re better known for Sci-Fi films. If this film is going to be made, it should be made as a documentary, where facts are the tenets instead of exciting drama.
An example of a good sport’s film trying to hijack truth and replace it with drama is The Blind Side, which starred Sandra Bullock and Quinton Aaron. The 2009 film portrays the true story of Michael Oher, who was the son of a poor, crack addicted mother in Memphis and was adopted by the Tuohy family (played by Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw), who helped him develop his football skills. Oher was not pleased with the direction of the film because the details were greatly exaggerated for dramatic purposes and even his own character was falsely portrayed as a Forrest Gump type athlete, when in actual fact, Oher was already very good at football by the time the Tuohy family took him under their wing.
Saying this, directors should be allowed some dramatic license, even in true stories. However, the unadulterated facts in a Lance Armstrong film would still provide an exciting experience, as it’s now fully apparent that the allegations placed on the fallen cyclist are true. However, the sport must come first and cycling had some amazing moments last year, especially for the UK (Bradley Wiggins at the Tour De France and Team GB at the Olympics), a film could overshadow all the great things that the sport has to offer … but, alas, this won’t stop the juggernaut that is Hollywood.
Do you think a film should be made?
The video below is of ABC’s coverage of the confession on Oprah.