One of the big TIFF world premieres is “The Program,” Stephen Frears’ movie about a journalist’s bid to bring down inspirational cycling champion/dishonest drugs cheat Lance Armstrong, and we’ve been excited about it because it gives a rare lead role to the always excellent, often undervalued Ben Foster.
Since his earliest appearances in films like “Liberty Heights” and “Get Over It,” Foster’s always been an unexpectedly intense and dedicated young actor, and he’s been behind a host of terrific performances, including in “The Messenger,” “Rampart,” “3:10 To Yuma,” and “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.” But he’s taken his method dedication — which included living on the streets for a tiny role in “Rampart” and eating dirt for “Lone Survivor” — to new heights, telling The Guardian that he actually took performance-enhancing drugs to play Armstrong.
“I don’t want to talk about the names of the drugs I took,” he tells the paper. “Even discussing it feels tricky because it isn’t something I’d recommend to fellow ators. These are very serious chemicals and they affect your body in real ways. For my own investigation it was important for me privately to understand it. And they work.”
And not necessarily in a good way. “There’s a fallout. Doping affects your mind… I’ve only just recovered physically. I’m only now getting my levels back.” Foster’s a smart, intense dude, and we’re looking forward to seeing how his performance turned out — did doping actually enhance it? You can find out from our review from TIFF in the next few days, and when the movie opens in the near future.