Alex Gibney’s Taxi to the Dark Side won the Best Documentary Oscar back in 2008 and I am ashamed to say I have still not had a chance to check it out despite all the great things I have heard about it. Gibney also directed Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room back in 2005 and I enjoyed his Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson doc last year quite a bit and I hope his next effort becomes the massive story it couple potentially become. John Horn at The Los Angeles Times reports Alex Gibney is following Lance Armstrong in his bid to win the Tour de France after a 3 1/2 -year absence.
Over the weekend I was asked if I was interested in Armstrong’s attempt to win the event for an eigth time and I couldn’t lie and said I will only be interested in the outcome should Armstrong win. I am not a bicycling fan and can often be seen with my fist pumping and a variety of obscenities spewing out of my mouth at the bicyclists in downtown Seattle, but I guess I should at least be happy they found someplace other than 6th Avenue to do their bike riding.
However, the Armstrong story is much more than just bicycling. The man has survived testicular cancer, which forced him to undergo treatments that included brain and testicular surgery and extensive chemotherapy. The fact he is still with us at all is a miracle, not to mention what he is attempting to do at the age of 37, which — should he win — would make him the oldest winner in the race’s history. Firmin Lambot was 36-years-old when he won it in 1922.
Of course, the documentary is not about Armstrong’s chase for the win, as much as it is about the path he has chosen. “What interested me was the story of his comeback — his will,” Gibney told the L.A. Times.
“It’s about cancer. It’s about getting old. It’s about proving all the naysayers wrong,” Columbia Pictures President Matt Tolmach said. “It’s about a comeback. It unfolds in an isolated period of time. It’s all the ingredients for a documentary.”
Obviously, should Armstrong win, we might be looking at a film that could have mass appeal, not to mention a lot of other factors could come into play such as the French suspicion of Armstrong and his long rumored (yet entirely unproven) use of performance enhancing drugs. It has already become obvious the French Anti-doping Agency is looking closely at Armstrong, who back on April 7 was quoted by the Wall Street Journal saying he’s been tested 24 times already, he adds: “I am sorry that they are disappointed that all the tests were negative, but I do not use any prohibited drugs or substances.”
This could be one hell of a documentary should things work out just right and even if Armstrong doesn’t win it sounds like something worth a look. Get the full story on the goings-on right here.
As of the posting of this article Armstrong was currently in third place with 18 stages of racing to go. Follow the race here. One of the film’s producers, Frank Marshall, is in France with Lance and you can follow his thoughts on his Twitter page. The film is expected to be released next year.