Chris O’Dowd says co-star Ben Foster was ‘really smart’ to take drugs for Lance Armstrong role

Foster and O'Dowd star in 'The Program', a biopic of the disgraced cyclist that opens in October

Chris O’Dowd has called his co-star Ben Foster “really smart” for taking performance-enhancing drugs to aid his portrayal of Lance Armstrong in a forthcoming biopic.

Foster stars as Armstrong in The Program, a biographical drama about the disgraced cyclist which opens in UK cinemas next month. O’Dowd stars opposite him as David Walsh, the Sunday Times journalist who played a key part in exposing Armstrong’s highly sophisticated doping program.

Foster recently revealed that during filming, he took some of the drugs Armstrong used to cheat his way to seven consecutive Tour de France titles, though the actor declined to name the substances he ingested and admitted that his extreme dedication to the role is not “something I’d recommend to fellow actors”.

Now O’Dowd has endorsed Foster’s method approach, telling the BBC: “I think that’s a really smart thing and makes sense.”

“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,” O’Dowd added. “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 taking drugs is like].

“That’s not to say you should, or you shouldn’t, but you can understand the validity of it,” O’Dowd concluded. The Program, directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen) from a script by John Hodge (Trainspotting), opens in UK cinemas on October 16. Watch the trailer below.