“Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Bay Team for Rwandan Cycling Movie,” reads a headline over at The Hollywood Reporter, and while that’s technically true it is perhaps a bit misleading if you’re just reading headlines. Bay and DiCaprio are indeed teaming up for the film, a based-on-a-true-story drama centered around the Rwandan national cycling team, but the pair are on board as co-producers, not as director and star.
The film doesn’t yet have a script, as it is still in early developmental stages, but it centers on Jacques “Jock” Boyer, the first American cyclist to ever race in the Tour de France. The Hollywood Reporter describes Boyer’s story as follows:
Boyer was an outlier in biking scene back then: In a rowdy crowd of alpha males, Boyer was a Bible-reading Seventh-Day Adventist who ate only nuts and berries. He won more than 40 professional races by the time he retired at age 32. But then a bad pall fell over him: A business he began with some partners ended with him being pushed out, and an affair with a teenager led him into jail.
But he found redemption in Rwanda, the war-torn country that was trying to rebuild after the genocide that took place there in the 1990s. He took a disparate group of Rwandans, boys who had survived butchering and abject poverty and who fought with their fists to fend off occasional bike thieves, and forged them into Team Rwanda, taking them to races around the globe. One of the members, a young man who lost six brothers in the genocide, Adrien Niyonshuti, made it to the 2012 London Olympics, competing in mountain bike cross-country.
The film will be set up at Paramount, with Bay and DiCaprio producing under their respective production outfits Bay Films and Appian Way Productions. Oscar nominee Orlando von Einsiedel, who directed Virunga — which DiCaprio executive produced — is attached to helm the project.