J.J. Abrams' Lance Armstrong Movie Races Toward the Finish Line

Plus: Will Bradley Cooper play Armstrong or Tyler Hamilton?

Lance Armstrong
Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images
December 3, 2013 12:00 PM ET

J.J. Abrams' Lance Armstrong biopic is entering its next leg, with Deadline reporting that the movie will be written by High Fidelity's D. V. DeVincentis and based on journalist Juliet Macur's book, Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong. DeVincentis also counts 1997's Grosse Pointe Blank among his screenwriting credits; as for the source material, Macur spent over a decade covering Armstrong for the The New York Times, chronicling everything from the cyclists near-fatal battle with testicular cancer to his triumphant seven Tour de France victories and ultimately the doping scandal that left him stripped of his titles and banned from the sport for life.

Learn 10 Fascinating Truths From The Armstrong Lie Documentary

While Abrams' Armstrong project was the first to be announced, it isn't the only horse in the race, with two other biopics about the disgraced cyclist reportedly in the works. Stephen Frears – who, coincidentally, directed High Fidelity – is directing a film based on journalist David Walsh's Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit Of Lance Armstrong, with Bridesmaids' Chris O'Dowd playing Walsh and Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma, Kill Your Darlings) playing Armstrong. Meanwhile, Jay Roach will helm Red Blooded American, which may star Bradley Cooper as either Armstrong or Tyler Hamilton, a teammate on the US Postal Service cycling team who told 60 Minutes early-on that he saw Armstrong using performance enhancing drugs.

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Ahead of all these was Oscar-winner Alex Gibney's documentary, The Armstrong Lie, which delves into the psychological aspects of one of the biggest scandals in the history of professional sports. Gibney initially followed Armstrong during his return to the Tour de France in 2009 before shelving the project after doping allegations surfaced; eventually he resumed the project, scoring an sit-down with Armstrong just three hours after he admitted to doping during an interview with Oprah.

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"The suspicions of doping were there from the start, and I was certainly aware of them," Gibney told Rolling Stone after the film's premiere at this year's Toronto Film Festival. "But at some point, when the wealth of detail was revealed, I began to feel that I had been part of an elaborate con, that I was kind of a cover story. And so my role as a filmmaker was to have made this film where he could say, 'I came back, won and did it clean. And that proves that it was always good, right?' At that point, it all changed."

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