But Sony's chairman, Amy Pascal, agreed that "It's Not About the Bike" had the potential to cut through the world of cycling and create a compelling human drama. Another tempting factor: the actor Matt Damon, who had met with Messrs. Marshall and Armstrong on the Berlin set of "The Bourne Supremacy" to discuss playing the role. In 2004, Columbia bought the option, giving Mr. Stapleton a producer credit and agreeing to share profits with him and Mr. Armstrong after the movie was released.
Still, the film is a work in progress. Mr. Silver is reworking some aspects of the script, and the studio hopes to deliver a more finished version to Mr. Damon some time this year. Mr. Damon, who worked closely with Mr. Marshall on the "Bourne" movies, expressed an interest in playing Mr. Armstrong early on, the filmmakers say. Although nothing has been put in writing, it's understood that the actor will have a right of first refusal on the role, they add. "We would love nothing more than for Matt Damon to play this part," says Mr. Tolmach. Associates of Mr. Damon say he's definitely interested, but not formally committed.