Ben Foster darts through the hills of France and around accusations of doping as Lance Armstrong in the new trailer for The Program, director Stephen Frears’ upcoming biopic about the rise and fall of the disgraced cyclist.
In the trailer’s opening moments, we hear Armstrong espousing his love of cycling and delivering, in a voiceover, a delightfully smarmy platitude about perseverance: “Inside each and every one of us is something more potent and powerful than any drug: It’s called, ‘the will to survive.'” Soon after though, he’s seen on an exercise bike watching his doctor, Michele Ferrari (Guillaume Canet), prep a dose of steroids.
While the clip is riddled with shots of Armstrong claiming victory and proclaiming his innocence, it also features Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids) as David Walsh, the Irish journalist who was instrumental in uncovering the cyclist’s doping program. As Walsh expresses his growing disbelief — “He’s recovered from cancer and turned into bloody Superman!” — the trailer offers glimpses of Armstrong’s maniacal side as he threatens to ruin his teammates who don’t cooperate.
The trailer ends with Armstrong staring at himself in a bathroom mirror, smiling slightly and practicing: “I have never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.”
In 2012, a damning report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) accused Armstrong of leading a doping program on his cycling teams. The cyclist continued to deny the charges until finally admitting the truth in an interview with Oprah a year later. Upon the release of the report, Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling forever; as of March, however, Armstrong was reportedly trying to convince the USADA to lessen his punishment and reinstate him.
The Program is scheduled to open in theaters this September. The film was written by John Hodge (Trainspotting) and based on Walsh’s book, Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit Of Lance Armstrong. The film also stars Dustin Hoffman, Lee Pace and Jesse Plemons.