Is the time now for a Lance Armstrong biographical film?
Lance Armstrong is the winner of the Tour de France for a record seven times. No man in a suit can take that away from him and it will forever be mentioned with regards the epic race. He won it, as well as numerous other accolades, with hundreds and hundreds of passed drug tests both in and out of competition, drug tests sanctioned and carried out by the governing bodies of the race and the sports he competed in. Those are the facts.
Now though, because the United States Anti-Doping Agency has heard in secret from an unknown group of people say they saw Armstrong take drugs, they've hounded him for years until finally he's given up trying to fight them and they've torn up their pieces of paper that say he won the race.
So while previous attempts at a biographical film of Lance Armstrong might have been sullied by the idea of the ongoing drug allegations, the fact that they've found him guilty and punished him out with the remit of their case, with no released evidence, on hearsay, and despite all the scientific evidence to prove otherwise, could Hollywood now be excited by the prospect of an Armstrong film?
Before now Armstrong was a cancer survivor and seven times Tour de France winner who was under a cloud of drug allegations by the USADA, unproven allegations that just kept going and going. Hollywood would be scared of making a biographical film from the book he wrote with Sally Jenkins called It's Not About the Bike (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) because the story wasn't finished, or to be more factual they would be scared that they would turn out to be true and the film they made of him would be an uplifting tale of a cheat.
Now this tale has become something different. A man who has achieved such amazing things through his sport and against a terrible disease, scientifically proven throughout his career to be drug free is removed from the winning lists from all his amazing achievements after being allegations made by unknown people in secret are accepted as truth, and despite fighting the claims for year after year his spirit is broken and he just gives up.
Suddenly that looks like a great story for Hollywood to write as finally there's some kind of conclusion to the open-ended story, whichever you believe, hundreds of sanctioned tests throughout the years or these rumours.
I wonder now if Jake Gyllenhaal will be drawn back to play Armstrong now that there's another hugely moralistic turn to his story? Back in 2006 Gyllenhaal was shadowing the cyclist and learning about him for an upcoming film about his life, but we heard nothing more from it until 2009 when we heard that Gary Ross was set to write the script. Yet once again it never amounted to much. Now though, I think the story is ripe for film adaptation, even more than it was before. What do you think?
You know it just struck me, Michael Phelps better watch out because in a few years the USADA will be after him when competing swimmers come out and say that he's been taking drugs while competing, even though he never tested positive for them, and they'll strip him of all his gold medals. Which team accused the Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen of drug taking? It may come back to bite them.
Anyway, all that aside, do you think it's time to see the story of Lance Armstrong's life? Does this latest decision make it a much more attractive story?