Hollywood loves a scandal. Stalled interest in disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong is rumbling back to life on the heels of recent revelations. Now that the cancer survivor hero has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, his massive doping scheme has bolstered new interest in his story.
Oscar-winner Alex Gibney (“Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” “Taxi to the Dark Side”) already has a Frank Marshall-produced documentary in postproduction at Sony. “We followed Lance Armstrong in his 2009 comeback tour all along the way,” Gibney told TOH. “We put the film on ice for some time until the resolution of the story, so we now feel it’s resolved sufficiently to move to finish it.”
Gibney is trying to get Armstrong to talk and will expand the film with new footage. He will also change the ending in order to incorporate Armstrong’s latest punishment: on October 22nd, Armstrong was stripped of all the cycling titles that he had acquired from 1998 to the present, including his Tour de France championships from 1999 to 2005.
Two fictional takes on Armstrong’s rise and fall, Sony’s version of Armstrong’s memoir “It’s Not About the Bike” and a project from Ed Pressman (“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”), have been dropped. The Hollywood Reporter reports that after the past few months’ allegations, there’s a different story to tell. One agent explains, “It’s not about him rising and becoming the greatest athlete. He has become a polarizing figure.”
But a producer adds that even though the scandal has upped the dramatic quotient of the Armstrong story, it’s “too tragic right now. You would need some sort of redemption at the end.”