Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong is among a list of favourite movie topics, apparently.
Muhammad Ali, Niki Lauda and Jake LaMotta are just a few of the sports greats whose stories have been told on the big screen. Over the coming months, Hollywood studios will add to the athlete biopic genre with features on four figures who left their mark on the sports world and on society at large.
There are currently three biopics in the works on the African-American athlete who made headlines at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. The most recently announced will star Anthony Mackie, who plays Falcon in Marvel’s Avengers universe.
The actor will play the four-time gold medalist, whose success at the games was seen as a challenge to Hitler's ideas of Aryan supremacy. Producers are aiming for a release during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, 80 years after Owens' triumph in Germany.Another biopic on the sprinter, appropriately titled Race, is also targeting a 2016 release. Stephan James (Selma) will take on the role of Owens, co-starring with Jeremy Irons and Jason Sudeikis.
Finally, a similar project at Disney was announced in 2013 but has been slow in getting off the ground. Written by David Seidler (The King's Speech), the feature could be directed by Antoine Fuqua.
Thirty-five years after directing Robert De Niro in the Jake La Motta biopic Raging Bull, Martin Scorsese is gearing up for another film on a legend of the ring. Jamie Foxx will play Mike Tyson in the untitled project, which will be scripted in part by The Wolf Of Wall Street writer Terence Winter.
No production dates have been announced, and the project might take a while to launch due to its director's busy schedule. Scorsese is currently filming Silence, which is due to open next year, and he also has plans for another celebrity biopic, this time on Frank Sinatra.
Between his seven Tour de France wins, his triumph over cancer and the controversy surrounding his lies over doping, the American cyclist's biography is ripe for a Hollywood adaptation.
Due for release in the US this August, the biopic Icon will be directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen). Ben Foster (Ain't Them Bodies Saints) will play Armstrong opposite Chris O'Dowd (St. Vincent) as David Walsh, the Irish journalist who became convinced of the cyclist's steroid use.
Dustin Hoffman and French actors Guillaume Canet and Denis Menochet are also cast in the biopic, which is not expected to portray the fallen champion in a particularly flattering light.
In a lighter register, the ski jumper known as “Eddie the Eagle” has also inspired a new biopic. The first British athlete to qualify for the event at the Winter Olympics, Edwards made a name for himself at the Calgary games in 1988, but not for his athletic prowess.
On the contrary, the former alpine skier became known for consistently finishing last in his events. Currently filming in the Alps, the biopic stars Taron Egerton (Kingsman The Secret Service) as the unskilled jumper and Hugh Jackman as Chuck Berghorn, a coach who helped him on his road to the Olympics. Eddie The Eagle is due in theaters in 2016. — AFP Relaxnews