Attorneys for banned trainer Michele Ferrari have moved to block the distribution of a film entitled The Program in Italy on grounds that he never injected Lance Armstrong with EPO, as depicted in the movie.
The film, which was inspired by a book written by David Walsh and directed by Stephen Frears, is due to make its debut in Italy on Thursday. Ferrari's attorneys from Studio Bolognesi aim to stop distributor Videa from making it available. They are also threatening to sue for damages because of the scene where Guillaume Canet, who plays Ferrari, is shown administering the injectable drug to Ben Foster, who plays Armstrong.
Ferrari was banned for life from the sport along with Lance Armstrong by the US Anti-Doping Agency after a lengthy investigation into the doping activities that took place on the US Postal Service Team during Armstrong's Tour de France reign. Armstrong admitted to taking EPO on recommendation from Ferrari, but the Italian denies actually injecting the drug.
The Program was first shown at the International Film Festival in Toronto, and was given mixed reviews. The film sparked controversy when it was revealed that Foster actually doped himself in real life during his preparation for the role.
Although the events depicted in the film - Armstrong's win-at-all-cost doping scheme - were first revealed in Walsh's first book with Frenchman Pierre Ballester, L.A. Confidentiel: Les secrets de Lance Armstrong in 2004, Ballester objected to The Program casting Walsh as the sole detractor of Armstrong.