Los Angeles, March 11 Film studio Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to an untitled project about the rise and fall of American former road cyclist Lance Armstrong, a subject that Paramount Pictures also is planning to bring to the big screen.
The project is being developed by Atlas Entertainment’s Charles Roven and Alex Gartner and will be scripted by Scott Z. Burns and directed by Jay Roach, entertainment blog Deadline reported.
Roach is known for directing comedies such as the Austin Powers series and “Meet the Parents”, although he also has won Emmy awards for the made-for-television films “Recount” and “Game Change”, both involving political themes.
The deal includes the life rights of former cyclist Tyler Hamilton, who was a teammate of Armstrong’s on the US Postal Service Team.
In January, press reports said Paramount and Bad Robot, the production company of J.J. Abrams, were working on a film about Armstrong’s controversial career.
Those companies acquired the rights to adapt the book “Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong” by New York Times reporter Juliet Macur, who has covered the cyclist’s career since his recovery from testicular cancer and documented his dramatic fall from admired seven-time Tour de France winner to disgraced drug cheat.
Macur’s book will be published in June in the US by HarperCollins, which paid the author an advance of more than $100,000.
Armstrong had denied using performance-enhancing drugs for a decade, but he told Oprah Winfrey in January that he took banned substances and received blood transfusions throughout most of his racing career and during all the Tour de France races he won.
Prior to that admission, Armstrong had been stripped of his seven consecutive Tour de France titles between 1999 and 2005 after refusing last year to defend himself from doping allegations compiled by the US Anti-Doping Agency.
He told Winfrey in an interview aired on her OWN network that, in his opinion, it would have been impossible to win the Tour de France over that seven-year period without the aid of banned substances.
In issuing a 1,000-page report last October detailing Armstrong’s involvement in a “doping conspiracy”, USADA said the US Postal Team “ran the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”.