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Four years ago, first time documentarian and amateur cyclist Bryan Fogel had an idea for a film. He'd put himself through a doping regimen to see whether he, like Lance Armstrong, could compete and evade detection. He lined up a charismatic Russian chemist named Grigory Rodchenkov to guide him, and the two men formed a friendship over Skype. Then things took a turn that transformed Fogel's film. Rodchenkov was revealed as the mastermind of Russia's massive state-run doping program for Olympic athletes. Filmmaker Bryan Fogel tells us how things got crazy and really, really scary during the making his new documentary Icarus.

Photo: Director Bryan Fogel in his documentary Icarus

Hollywood news banter 7 MIN, 15 SEC

Matt Belloni, editorial director of the Hollywood Reporter, joins Kim Masters to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

  • If you're not a major studio or a streaming service, it's awfully risky to make movies these days. Two indie production companies showed us that last week. Just 18 months ago, Open Road had a Best Picture winner in Spotlight. Now it's being bought by a Chinese company to stay alive. And another indie outlet, Broad Green Pictures is shutting down its production house and becoming just a distributor.
  • Despite all the risk, some people are still up to the challenge. Megan Ellison, billionaire head of Annapurna Pictures is testing out the waters of producing and distributing with Kathryn Bigelow's Detroit. The movie may have an important social message, but will people rush to the box office to see it?
  • HBO has been the victim of a major cyber attack. Unlike the Sony hack, no emails have been released -- so far. It's unclear whether the attack could have any effect on AT&T's pending takeover of Time Warner, HBO's parent company.

Matthew Belloni, Hollywood Reporter (@THRMattBelloni)

Director Bryan Fogel on 'Icarus' 19 MIN, 28 SEC

As the new documentary Icarus begins, it looks like director Bryan Fogel will also be its subject.

Fogel is an amateur cyclist who decided to undergo a doping regimen to see if he, like Lance Armstrong, could improve his performance in races, all while avoiding detection.

For help in this quest, he found a willing accomplice in Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, a Moscow-based chemist who ran the largest anti-doping laboratory in Russia.

The two first connected over Skype, and then met face to face several times, forming a close friendship.

Things soon became much more serious than either Fogel or Rodchenkov anticipated. After Fogel's experiment was well underway, it was revealed in the media that Rodchenkov was the architect of Russia's massive Olympic doping program, giving scores of athletes a regimen and making sure they tested clean. Once exposed in an investigation, Rodchenkov knew he was in the crosshairs of Russian authorities.

It fell to Fogel to help him flee Russia, almost certainly saving his life. Throughout all of this, the camera kept rolling.

Fogel tells us about taking extreme precautions while working on Icarus, and explains why all the unanticipated twists of the story meant that a $5 million sale at Sundance didn't come close to covering the cost of making the film.

Bryan Fogel, documentary filmmaker (@bryanfogel)


Kim Masters

Kaitlin Parker

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