Ben Foster: Actor Took Performance-Enhancing Drugs To Play Lance Armstrong

Actor Ben Foster apparently took his on-screen portrayal of Lance Armstrong seriously even when the cameras were not rolling.

During an interview with the Guardian, the 34-year-old actor admitted that he decided to take drugs when researching Lance Armstrong to prepare for his performance.

However, Foster also made it clear that he does not recommend that type of committed investigation — especially when he considers the long-term effects that the drugs had on him.

“I don’t want to talk about the names of the drugs I took. Even discussing it feels tricky because it isn’t something I’d recommend to fellow actors. These are very serious chemicals and they affect your body in real ways. For my own investigation it was important for me privately to understand it. And they work.”

Ben Foster may not have identified the drugs that he used, according to Daily News, but he did not hesitate to explain the effect that they had on him while filming The Program.

“There’s a fallout. Doping affects your mind. It doesn’t make you feel high. There are behaviors when you’ve got those chemicals running through your body that serve you on the bike but which, when you’re not… (shakes head) I’ve only just recovered physically. I’m only now getting my levels back.”

Foster further claims that he tried to “infect” himself with Lance Armstrong, getting the American cyclist into his system.

When he was first approached by director Stephen Frears to star in the leading role of this film, Ben Foster did not know very much about Lance Armstrong. Since Armstrong reportedly refused to participate in an interview, Ben had no choice but to conduct his own research for the role.

“On one hand, he’s a lying doper who tricked the world. On the other, he’s a young man who faced cancer. It changes you. And when you go to war it changes you. That’s what Lance did – he went to war with his body. That shifts your consciousness. He started training within a culture that was doping: you’d have to go down 18 riders to find a clean one. He survives death, the story catches fire and he recognizes that.”

The Lone Survivor actor credited Lance Armstrong for being a “smart man” that raised half a billion dollars for cancer research. In Ben’s opinion, people do not like Lance because they viewed him as “Jesus Christ on a bicycle” — coming back from the dead and saving the sick before they found out the truth about his lies.

Alongside Ben Foster in the leading role, The Program also features performances from Dustin Hoffman, Lee Pace, Jesse Plemons, and Chris O’Dowd.

[Image Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images]