It’s currently one of the biggest scandals, so it’s no surprise that it’s becoming a movie.
On the heels of his admittance to using performance-enhancing drugs during his seven consecutive wins of the Tour de France, comes news that disgraced cycling star Lance Armstrong is getting a movie made about his rise and fall – by way of J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot production company.
Deadline reports that Bad Robot has secured the rights to Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong, a HarperCollins book proposal (not even a book yet) that will be authored by New York Times sports reporter, Juliet Macur. Macur covered Armstrong during his record-setting journey back from cancer in the late ’90s to sports history glory in the mid-2000s, making her uniquely qualified to provide the world with insight into how the controversial athlete lived during that time.
The appeal is clear for Bad Robot, as Armstrong’s sordid tale could arguably be the defining sports scandal of a generation (sorry baseball, you’re suddenly old bad news). Armstrong’s inspirational tale inspired multitudes of people, cancer research organizations and movements, celebrity endorsement deals – he even punctured the cultural zeitgeist by inspiring the popular trend of wearing rubber wristbands, which are color-coded for cause awareness.
With his recent (as in a day ago, as of writing this) confession to Oprah about his steroid use, Armstrong cements his place as one of sports history’s most inspirational charlatans. In June 2012, the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) formally banned the athlete from cycling for life, and stripped him of all medals won since the evidence of his doping first surfaced in 1998.
Ironically enough, Sony had a biopic celebrating Armstrong’s glory, which was set to go into production in the mid-2000s; everyone from Matt Damon to Jake Gyllenhaal was rumored to be circling the leading role. Clearly that film never got off the ground – and clearly that ship has now set sail – leaving Bad Robot all the room and opportunity it needs to step in and tell the more sordid story. We wonder if somebody over at Sony had a crystal ball (or just a good inside tip that they might want to wait on that investment…).
It remains to be seen how, exactly, Armstrong will be portrayed in the film. Then again, it still remains to be seen how he will be portrayed here, in the court of public opinion.
In any event, Bad Robot stands to make a pretty penny if (when) Cycle of Lies comes to a theater near you.