We had to laugh when we saw the films credits for Alex Gibney, the director of the forthcoming movie on Lance Armstrong.
The Lance film is entitled The Armstrong Lie but how about Gibney’s two previous works: Enron. The Smartest Guys In The Room and Taxi To The Dark Side.
Take the three film titles together and you have a consistent body of dramatic work that thematically holds true.
Is there any question that Armstrong — and his hordes of lawyers — thought they were the smartest guys in the room, capable of destroying anyone who told the truth? They were smarter and more ruthless than David Walsh or Emma O’Reilly and Betsey Andreu and Floyd Landis and US Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart. Well, almost.
Even when Armstrong belatedly scheduled his meeting with Tygart in a Denver airport hotel conference room, he still thought he was smarter than his Anti-Doping nemesis. That was the meeting where the former Boss angrily proclaimed that only one person was in charge of his redemption and that was Lance himself.
He’s been losing to the far smarter Tygart before, during and ever since. Armstrong can’t swim, run, mount bike or do a triathlon without USADA slapping him down.
And is there any dispute that from that point on, after authorities stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles, and after he gave his disastrous performance on the Oprah Winfrey Show, that the disgraced champion was on a Taxi To The Dark Side?
“We set out to make a movie about a comeback,” said producers Frank Marshall and Matt Tolmach. “We ended up chronicling the collapse of one of the greatest myths and legends of our time.” From smart to taxi to lie, a brilliant trilogy. Not Lord of the Rings, but close.
Director Gibney describes the project as a “long-distance ride, full of unpredictable twists and turns.” The man has a gift for understatement. The Armstrong saga from epic rise to astonishing and tragic collapse had more twists and turns than three weeks of a Tour de France.
Sony Pictures Classics will release the film later this year. We don’t know if indeed it will be a classic but we’ll make popcorn, dust it with some human growth hormone and head to the theater.