The life story of Lance Armstrong was always going to rife for dramatising. From his pig-headed desire for achieving his goal of cycling at the top echelon of the sport to his fall from grace and public ostracising, if a Hollywood writer was putting together a plot for a Lance Armstrong movie, they couldn’t make up a better one.
The Program is based on the David Walsh’s Seven Deadly Sins which chronicled Walsh’s near 13 year campaign to bring the truth behind Lance Armstrong’s Tour De France victories to the publics attention. The title of the book relates to the fact that Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour titles after Walsh’s articles and investigation work were eventually validated hence the use of Seven Deadly Sins.
This was the first Lance Armstrong movie teaser trailer so information and general plot points were not the priority which meant we didn’t learn a great deal. We did get some indication of the drive and dedication that first brought Armstrong to the world’s attention after his cancer battle. As well as some hints that Chris O’Dowd character wasn’t buying it as everyone else was.
The major revelation was that Ben Foster seems to be embodying Armstrong as the shots of him cycling and his inflection when talking in certain shots appear bang on for the disgraced Texan himself. Foster has always been one of those actors that you see in a movie for a small scene here and there but was always unheralded. This might be his opportunity to step out of the shadows and stake a place in the main steam movie going publics attention.
It’s great to see that David Walsh is actually being played by an Irish actor, namely Chris O’Dowd, as in the past there might have been the desire to shoehorn in a British or American actor attempting an Irish accent. O’Dowd makes for really interesting casting as many of us would be more familiar with his comedic work but his turn in Calvary showcased a whole different, darker, side to the actor that perhaps he wasn’t able to portray previously. Although I’ve not seen it, his turn in Of Mice And Men on Broadway got him a Tony nomination in 2014 so perhaps we are seeing a new stage in his acting evolution.
When you consider that Stephen Frears is behind the lens here and his back catalogue of fantastic movies then you have to say that this movies pedigree is certainly high. His recent work with Philomena and the raw nature of that story certainly suggests that this is not a man who is afraid to use the first, of many one would assume, Lance Armstrong movie adaptations to tell what he believes is a story that the public needs to hear about.