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Bryan Fogel’s plan was to make a documentary about pervasive doping in cycling by becoming a human guinea pig, to see whether he could dope and evade detection. He recruited chemist Grigory Rodchenkov in Moscow to guide him-- and then the plot thickened. Rodchenkov was revealed as the architect of Russia’s massive state-run doping program. When that became public, Rodchenkov feared he was not safe in Russia, apparently with good reason. Fogel helped him flee, and then he helped Rodchenkov blow the whistle on russia. Thanks to Rodchenkov’s disclosures, Russia was banned from the upcoming Winter Olympics. Today we’re revisiting our conversation with Fogel about his film, ‘Icarus,’ now shortlisted for an Oscar nomination.

Bryan Fogel in 'Icarus.' Photo credit: Netflix

Hollywood news banter 8 MIN, 35 SEC

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

  • The women behind the #MeToo movement are starting to organize to make sure it lasts for more than just a moment. Part of their efforts include a legal defense fund called Time’s Up to help women in blue-collar industries that don’t have a platform like Hollywood stars.
  • The winter television critics gathering is underway, and boy was it an awkward time for Dana Walden and Gary Newman, the chairs of Fox Television. The two seemed committed to saying things would be “business as usual” for the next 12-18 months, but after the Disney deal goes through, it’s not clear where either of them will be working. 


Matthew Belloni, Hollywood Reporter (@THRMattBelloni)

Revisiting director Bryan Fogel on ‘Icarus’ 18 MIN, 18 SEC

As the Netflix 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.

Since the film has been released, Rodchenkov’s testimony led to the International Olympic Committee banning Russia from February’s winter games. Fogel said this is almost certainly because of the revelations in ‘Icarus.’

Rodchenkov meanwhile, continues to live in the U.S. under federal protection. Since Icarus has been released, Putin has issued a warrant for Rodchenkov’s arrest and alleged that the United States has been drugging the chemist.

Bryan Fogel, documentary filmmaker (@bryanfogel)


Kim Masters

Kaitlin Parker

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