There should come a time in every method actor’s career when he or she is like, “Nope. Not gonna do that. That’s a bad idea. I love awards, and I love acting and sh*t, but that just seems like it’s not worth it.”
That moment apparently has not come yet for Ben Foster, and he’s seeing the effects of such poor choices.
In The Program (which opens this weekend at the Toronto International Film Festival), Foster plays the disgraced former Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong. Foster has been known to take his roles quite seriously, which includes eating dirt for Lone Survivor, and using glaucoma eye drops while filming Alpha Dog. He didn’t stray from his trajectory for The Program: He took performance-enhancing drugs to play Armstrong, who was stripped of his titles for doing the same.
“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.”
He also detailed that the drugs had some side effects other than biking really hard.
“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 …I’ve only just recovered physically. I’m only now getting my levels back.”
It probably should come as no surprise that Foster used the drugs to get in a better headspace to play a doping athlete, but the question has to be: Why? Is that really necessary? Isn’t he, you know, an actor? Why risk your health with drugs in order to play a part better, if it even did do that? We’ll never know the answer to that riddle, but… oh… wait. It all makes sense now.
It’s all coming together now.