Skip to main content

Bradley Cooper Swears He Isn't Playing Lance Armstrong, But J.J. Abrams Says They're Talking

Should it really surprise anyone that the in-development Lance Armstrong biopic all of a sudden is characterized by lies, misconceptions and hearsay?

Let’s do a quick recap. One of the many, many projects suddenly piling up on J.J. Abrams’ plate is a planned Armstrong movie documenting his cheating scandal as a rider on the Tour de France. Abrams will produce the film, but obviously is far too busy to ever consider directing. News broke, however, that Silver Linings Playbook star and current Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper was interested in climbing on the bike for that role because, like most of us, he found Lance to be a fascinating character. No doubt it will be a meaty role for whomever decides to play Armstrong on screen. And Abrams, speaking to press on Saturday night at the Producers Guild Awards, mentioned to E! that Cooper "sent me an email and we've been talking" about taking over the lead role.

Only Cooper claims he knows nothing about it.

The actor quickly responded to Access Hollywood at the SAG Awards on Sunday night that the story was false and that initially he was confused by the line of questioning from the BBC that first linked him to the story and the role in the first place.

Oh my God, that’s so nuts! I was in Manchester, doing the BBC morning show… I had no idea what [the interviewer] was talking about. I didn’t even know that J.J. has the rights, I had no idea. I don’t know anything about it.”

So did he send an email to Abrams, or are they both totally confused? Here's what we know. The pair have history. Early in his career, Cooper had a recurring role on Abrams’ Alias opposite Jennifer Garner, so the idea of the two working together makes sense. And I have no doubt that Cooper actually would be an excellent choice to play Armstrong in the inevitable movie. Maybe this is a calculated denial as negotiations happen behind the scenes? Perhaps Abrams can still woo Cooper to the project, if he really wants him. Remember, Armstrong lied about taking PEDs for years. Maybe Cooper’s fooling the media with a little fib of his own. He’s Method. It’s helping him get in character. We shall see.

Sean O'Connell
Sean O'Connell

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.