Ben Foster Will Be Lance Armstrong

For Stephen Frears' film

Ben Foster, Lance Armstrong

His cycling record and battle with cancer alone would have spurred a film about pedal-pusher Lance Armstrong. But the more recent revelations about his use of illegal steroids and other drugs have driven yet more interest in his tale, with at least two movies already in development. Now comes a surprise entry, as Dirty Pretty Things director Stephen Frears has announced his intent to make one, with Ben Foster locking down a deal to star.

The news has come as something of a shock, announced by Frears while out stumping for his HBO film Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight at the Television Critics’ Association summer press tour. Frears is gearing up the film for Working Title, which will chronicle the scandal that left Armstrong's seven-time Tour de France-winning career in tatters.

John Hodge has written the script for the film, which also includes Armstrong’s battle with cancer. Foster feels like a prime choice for the role, though he’ll need to get into cycling shape ready for a likely autumn shoot.

As we mentioned, this is just the latest Armstrong project en route to the screen, with Warner Bros. working on an untitled film from Jay Roach and Side Effects writer Scott Z. Burns. Then there’s Paramount, which has J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk and the Bad Robot gang adapting Juliet Macur’s book Cycle Of Lies: The Fall Of Lance Armstrong. There’s no official word on casting for that one, but Abrams has apparently chatted to Bradley Cooper about the idea. Right now, however, it appears Frears might take the yellow jersey by finishing first.

Foster, who has been spending time on stage recently, will next be seen in films including Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (due September 6) and Kill Your Darlings, plus Peter Berg’s Navy SEALs drama Lone Survivor, which arrives on February 21 next year.