Lance Armstrong has officially given up the fight against his doping allegations, and in return has received a lifetime ban from the sport along with being stripped of all 7 of his Tour de France titles. This may mark the end of a long saga for one of the biggest athletes in the sport, and certainly the most famous cyclist in the world.
The whole process has been controversial, and his career was as storied as they come. He may have lost his titles, and will now be viewed as guilty in the eyes of most fans, but he is still an inspiration to those fighting cancer, making him the perfect subject for a biopic.
A Lance Armstrong film has been rumored on and off for nearly a decade, but it has never come to fruition. With this recent development in his career though, I’m sure the major Hollywood studios are rushing to put together a biopic, but the big questions is, who is the ideal actor to take on the lead role?
In an attempt to answer that, I’ve compiled a list of five actors that I think would thrive in an Armstrong film.
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1. Ryan Reynolds
There were few men on the planet as fit as Lance Armstrong was in his prime, but Ryan Reynolds proved in Blade: Trinity that he’s willing to take his preparation to the next level and get as fit as possible for a role. For that film, he reportedly ate ten small meals a day and worked out like a maniac. Of course, the results were obvious.
Reynolds actually sounds quite a bit like Armstrong too. Armstrong has a slightly deeper voice but it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to picture Reynolds easily picking up the proper sound. Though not an exact match, Reynolds and Armstrong definitely look similar enough that the portrayal would work.
Finally, Reynolds’ career has had a good mix of action roles and more dramatic roles, both of which would be necessary to fully capture the scope of Armstrong’s life and career.
2. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is as hot as anyone in Hollywood right now, consistently turning out great performances every time he’s on screen. He’s proven to be excellent both in supporting roles and as the central figure of the film. This year has seen the actor in a whole slew of interesting roles, ranging from Robin to Bruce Willis, so why not give him a shot at Armstrong?
Gordon-Levitt did a phenomenal job of playing someone struggling with cancer in 50/50 too. The seriousness and depth he brought to to that role, and the film, makes it one of the best performances of his career. I have no doubt he could do it again as Armstrong.
Plus, he proved in Premium Rush that he already knows how to ride a bike, just in case there was any question to that. Personally, I think it’d be great to see him cycle through the mountains of France being chased by his competitors, as opposed to weaving through New York City on the run from Michael Shannon.
Check out the trailer for Premium Rush below to see how well Gordon-Levitt handles his bike.
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3. Matt Damon
Matt Damon was rumored to be preparing for an Lance Armstrong biopic a few years ago, but the project never saw any real momentum. Damon would have been, and still is, a great choice to play Lance.
Damon has definitely proven himself as an action star while playing Jason Bourne and he would be totally believable as a pro cyclist. Where Damon would really shine though, would be in the latter parts of the film, dealing with both the end of Armstrong’s career and the steroids scandal. Picture the depressing solitude of his character in Hereafter translated to Armstrong dealing with the destruction of his legacy. Perfect match, right?
Damon has already played a sports star too, albeit in a very different sport, in Invictus, a role which I think was one of his best. He’s got all the right qualities to make the perfect Lance Armstrong and I would be thrilled to see him take on the role.
4. Woody Harrelson
Yes, Woody Harrelson is a bit older than the rest of the actors on this list, but his resemblance to Lance is surprisingly close. Their mannerisms are a bit similar too and Harrelson would have no trouble capturing the smug attitude some see in Armstrong.
Obviously Harrelson can act, he’s shown it time and time again in a wide array of roles, but his career has been light on portrayals of real people. I have no doubt that he would be excellent as Armstrong, but he just may not be a big enough box office pull for the studio to bank on him.
That being said, I think that beneath a helmet Harrelson would be the best fit visually for Armstrong, and he would be especially great if the film focused on Lance’s health struggles and post-cancer career.
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5. Jake Gyllenhaal
Yes, that above photo is Jake Gyllenhaal and Armstrong riding together. That has to give Gyllenhaal a leg up on this role, right?
The second actor on this list that has been rumored to be involved with an Armstrong biopic, Gyllenhaal began to heavily train as a cyclist in preparation for the role. During the process he met Armstrong and the two developed a close friendship.
While the two do look similar, the only problem I could see with Gyllenhaal would be the fact he’s become so close to Armstrong. The current situation regarding Lance’s ban is very controversial, and having a lead who has spent so much more time with him may dictate the tone with which the situation is portrayed. Then again, Gyllenhaal is a professional, and who better to duplicate the style and mannerisms of Armstrong than someone who’s spent so much time with him.
So, that’s my list. This film is basically inevitable and I’m sure official casting news will start circulating soon. I know there are some other actors who would be great fits for a Lance Armstrong film and if you have any choices of your own, sound off in the comments below.Previous