By all means, shed a tear for the ending of another celebrity relationship: that of cyclebot Lance Armstrong and his sun-soaked dittybird, Sheryl Crow. But life goes on, as do biopics, and the feature based on Armstrong's autobiography "It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life" is no exception. Matt Damon is cast as Armstrong, and veteran producer and director Frank Marshall is at the helm, with footage already in the can of the actual athlete soaring past the finish line at the last Tour de France for a real-life happy ending. But Marshall wants everyone to know that this Lance-authorized and monitored production will not be a breezy, downhill, sightseeing affair:
"I talk to Lance all the time," Marshall grinned, adding that the cycling legend will serve as an advisor on the set. "He's a participant; he wants to be a part of it, and I certainly want to have him there."
Addressing the biographer-subject friendship, Marshall then cautioned: "But I told him, I'm not making a puff piece."
Those who've followed Armstrong's often-controversial career might expect the film, then, to address the nagging steroid allegations levied by his detractors, but the producer/director insisted that the film won't go anywhere near the topic. "No, I don't think that's part of that early [story]," he said. "The first book, 'It's Not About the Bike,' goes up to the first Tour win. There's none of that in there; I'm not going to deal with that. I don't believe any of that, anyway."
With the doping allegations omitted, it falls to Marshall to find controversy elsewhere in order to fulfill his radical style of anti-"puff piece" filmmaking. That could prove to be quite the trick, especially with Armstrong fixated on the monitors in a director's chair three feet behind him, headphones on and bullhorn in hand, interrupting every take with a blaring, distorted "Yo, Damon. Try it again, and this time, make me nicer!"