Lance Armstrong biographical film gains writer
It looks like the long talked about biographical film of Lance Armstrong could actually be happening as we finally hear that there's a writer on board to get the script going. It's not the same writer as The Flying Scotsman (Filmstalker review) unfortunately, but it's Gary Ross.
Who's he? You might ask? Well he wrote Big, Dave, the new Lassie, Pleasantville and The Tale of Despereaux. Now you're already thinking what to expect from this film aren't you?
Considering the story of Lance Armstrong and the way these films tug at the emotional heartstrings so easily, you can see that this is going to be playing heavily on the emotional side of the film and trying to get the audience emotionally involved.
Personally I don't see a problem with this, it's an amazing story, one that should be told and can act as an inspiration to all, and this is the story of Lance Armstrong we want to hear about isn't it?
Well yes, and no. As the cancer adverts run through the UK continually tell us, and I can wholeheartedly agree with while I think of my mother whose birthday would have been yesterday, it's not all about cancer all the time, people suffering from it have to regain a semblance of normality and real life, they have to get themselves back, now that's where the story is for me.
That and the extraordinary feat of winning the Tour de France seven times, illness or not. Oh, and the small inside story of racing in the ever controversial Tour de France.
Now I'm not saying it shouldn't be about his illness and coming back from that, that is an amazing story and should be a major focal point for the film, I just don't want a Disney type writer to make it into an overly emotionally manipulative money earner.
Let's look past the illness too and see the feat that the man did, see something more about the world of cycling, and perhaps give us the chance to see some more films about that world.
However I'm not sure it will go that way. The executives can see it already and the story from Risky Business tells us that Gary Ross will adapt from the book that Lance Armstrong wrote with Sally Jenkins called It’s Not About the Bike (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com), 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."
So the book ends where he wins his first title. That's definitely going to be the new Seabiscuit story.
Even the article itself puts into perspective how the story will be told:
"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."
Of course he went on to win six more times, but there was no triumph over human adversity to make it into an emotional film. Well, apart from the mammoth physical effort and training required to be the best cyclist in the world another six times in a row!
Now he's back in the racing circuit again and hoping to compete once more. The question is can he win again, and isn't the full story of his life much more inspirational and amazing than just the cancer battle and the first Tour de France win?