"He seems not to have worked out what he did yet," says The Program director Stephen Frears of Lance Armstrong

Stephen Frears, the director of the new film The Program based on the life of Lance Armstrong, believes the disgraced cyclist would “attack it” if he saw it.

The film, released in the UK tomorrow (October 16), covers the American’s rise to seven-time Tour de France champion, and his downfall and ultimate admission of taking drugs throughout his career.

>>> Review: Lance Armstrong biopic ‘The Program’ (video)

British director Frears, who adapted journalist David Walsh’s book Seven Deadly Sins for the film, said of Armstrong to Cycling Weekly: “What is peculiar is that he seems both intelligent and stupid, and he seems not to have worked out what he did yet.”

He continued: “I wouldn’t find him terribly interesting; I can see he got involved in something very interesting. I’m not a psychiatrist, I don’t know why he did the things he did, I can see they’re contradictory and they’re very, very dramatic.”

When asked how he managed to condense almost 20 years of cycling history into a film, Frears admitted he regretted not being able to depict Armstrong’s treatment of Greg LeMond.

The retired American, who won the Tour three times, faced Armstrong’s wrath when he questioned his dominance in cycling. “I wish we’d done Greg LeMond because he seems to have treated Greg LeMond particularly badly,” Frears said.

Frears, whose last film Philomena was Oscar nominated, has described The Program as more of a ‘crime film’ than a sports one.

Yet in order to make it as authentic as possible, a team of experts from the sport were brought in, including David Millar and Walsh.

Ben Foster, who played Armstrong, spent time with the Garmin-Sharp team to get an insight into life as a cyclist, while professional cyclists, including British riders Yanto Barker and Kristian House, were brought in to film the riding scenes and double as the actors.

  • Tifosi Nelson

    We all agreed now Lance is annoying and really damaged the sport!
    Now there is allegations against Cipollini, he pulled the same stunt paying a doctor 130k for drugs and treatment. So fabulous Mario is next to fall obviously not as hard as LA.
    Looking into the crystal ball all GC riders through a big chunk of the tour were on the sauce. Do we erase the whole history of cycling now?
    I am a cyclist too since 11 now 55. I never doped but saw a lot doing it. I was amateur in the 70-80’s but did race for Benotto Italian cycling team USA.
    I am also a drummer, a lot of my favorite musicians were drug addicts and most of their legendary recordings and performances were done high on the sauce.
    Do i discredit the work Miles, Coltrane, Hendrix and so many more for being super creative and virtuoso because of the sauce? Or do i just accept and enjoy what they have done and take it for what it is……entertainment!
    “I think therefore i exist “…….Descartes

  • FPCyclist

    EXCEPT that LA was a sociopath bent on destroying people. This clearly sets him apart from other cyclists and no one should ever forget it. Bassons, Walsh, Ballester, the Andreus, the Lemonds felt his twisted wrath and they never deserved what he did to them. LA and his toadies need to be flushed from the record and should never be mentioned in the same breath as other cyclists. A sick, sick man. I for one firmly believe he would’ve been average without the hot sauce. Look at his record pre-doping. Nothing as a climber, nothing as a stage racer. Plain for all to see.

  • Tifosi Nelson

    The reality today if there is big money in sports doping is the deal.
    Cycling is huge world wide. The sport is tougher than ever. Doping will always be!
    Merckx- Pantani-Armstrong did it….big deal.
    They were still awesome athletes.

  • LaszloZoltan

    I rather agree, Lances story is fairly straightforward. Floyds on the other hand, would make for a much more compelling one.