O’Dowd: Ben Foster’s film prep was smart

Chris O’Dowd thinks Ben Foster was “smart” to take drugs while playing Lance Armstrong in biopic The Program.

The 43-year-old cyclist caused outrage in 2013 when he admitted to taking performance enhancers, something he had initially denied when he was banned from the sport in 2012.

At the Toronto International Film Festival over the weekend, actor Ben revealed he had taken the drugs to better inform his performance. His co-star Chris, who plays Irish journalist David Walsh, the man who spent 13 years uncovering the athlete’s dependence on steroids, isn’t shocked by Ben’s admission.

“I think that’s a really smart thing and makes sense,” he told the BBC.

“With something like that you know it’s not going to harm you necessarily, and you’re going to have to perform so much [while filming].

“I think if you have to take drugs in a role, it’s very hard to do without taking the drug at some stage in your life.

“I’m not advocating that you [should take drugs for a role], but I’m sure it probably wouldn’t hurt your performance. It might hurt you as a human being, but it would be silly to say that would not be a good way in to knowing [what it’s like].”

Chris concluded that he wasn’t encouraging it, he was just able to “understand the validity of it”.

The Program screened at TIFF yesterday and rolls out in cinemas from next month. At the film’s premiere in Canada, Ben spoke about his controversial decision.

“The more that I researched, the more that I explored in this subject, the more I wanted to know. It’s such a complex story, it’s such a complex world,” he explained.

“Doping is not the reason why Lance Armstrong won but it did shape a culture at the time, and it certainly shaped him, and I wanted to understand – on a personal level, on a cellular level – what that experience is like.”

– Cover Media

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