With three Lance Armstrong movies in various stages of production and a just released documentary, the disgraced Tour de France champion is getting plenty of negative media attention.
However, his close friend and manager Johan Bruyneel — also implicated in the US Postal doping scandal — has so far gone without a movie or even a short television show or animated feature.
That may soon change.
According to a source in the Bruyneel camp, the Belgian is jealous of Armstrong and wants his own expose on film. “Johan feels left out,” said Lars Mickelnickelson. “It’s like even in defeat Lance still gets the whole spotlight. Bruyneel just wants some credit for putting together the most sophisticated doping program in sports.”
He’s also prepared to pay for the movie.
According to a new story in Sporza, Bruyneel has already put up several million euros to fund a production team and begin casting. The film, tentatively titled We Might As Well Dope, chronicles Bruyneel’s development of Armstrong as a Tour winner and the secret methods required to dominate the sport.
While Hollywood star Bradley Copper puts together his Armstrong film “Red Blooded American” and Ben Foster is set to play Armstrong in the film based on the book “Seven Deadly Sins,” Bruyneel has yet to cast himself.
“Johan feels that the three Armstrong movies will all be emotional downers and he’d like to do something different with his film,” said Mickelnickelson. “He loves the tough gangster guy that Winstone plays in Sexy Beast but I think he wants to go for comedy. That’s why Stonestreet is such an intriguing possibility.”
According to several media experts, Bruyneel may be making the right call on a lighter, more accessible film. “You’ve got a glut of Armstrong movies all telling the same story and they’re all dark,” says M.L. Jackson, an analyst for Omnicom Media Group. “Plus Bruyneel knows he’s not the big star like Armstrong, so he plays to that strength. It gives him the opportunity to make doping fun, show the crazy side, put a smile on the syringe.”
Instead of a cautionary tale of deceit and lies, Bruyneel may indeed go for laughs. An unconfirmed rumor suggests that the Belgian is in discussions with Todd Phillips, the director of the wildly funny and successful The Hangover.”
“Johan is swinging for the fences and that’s cool,” said Jason Banks, an L.A. publicist working with Bruyneel. “You know the Armstrong stories are about drama and scandal. But he wants a fun vibe, like the way Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson worked it in Wedding Crashers. That’s what Bruyneel is after — two hip, smart guys — Johan and Lance — taking on the world, having a good time and doing some drugs. They even want Travis Tygart in a guest role — people don’t realize how funny that guy is.”
It remains to be seen whether the Bruyneel movie project will become a reality. However, it’s no secret the Belgian has the organizational skills and willpower necessary to put together his own production. “Remember, this is a guy who speaks five languages,” said Banks. “If Lance gets three movies, you can be damn sure Bruyneel is getting one.”