Everyone now knows that Lance Armstrong doped to win many of his cycling titles. What we didn't know was that Ben Foster, who plays the disgraced cyclist in the upcoming film, The Program, decided to go method for this role.
Foster says that he injected performance-enhancing drugs -- he won't say which -- while filming the Armstrong biopic. He does not recommend that anyone else take these drugs, saying that they changed who he was for a time:
There's a fallout. Doping affects your mind. It doesn’t make you feel high. There are behaviours when you’ve got those chemicals running through your body that serve you on the bike but which, when you’re not …
Foster doesn't wish to villainize the cyclist with publicity for the biopic, though. He understands that Armstrong entered a culture of doping and "went to war with his body". He also acknowledges the half a billion dollars that Livestrong raised for cancer research and support.
This film isn't the first time that Foster has reportedly gone method. He ate dirt for Lone Survivor and slept rough for Rampart. He also purchased crystal meth for his role in Alpha Dogs but never used the drug. Why did he draw the line somewhere between performance-enhancing and street drugs?
It’s a good question. In all transparency, I rolled with those guys on Alpha Dog and I bought their drugs but you have to ask yourself how far you can go and still come back. I had been losing friends to crystal meth. The proximity to it was enough that I didn’t need to take that door.
He also says that he felt he could come back from the performance-enhancing drugs, though he comments it has taken a very long time for him to get his mind and body back together.
The Program premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this week to mixed reviews. Foster has been praised for his work in the film, called "eerily brilliant" in an "otherwise unfocused doping drama".
Check out the trailer for The Program below.