What’s going on with Ryan Lochte? Accounts continue to differ about what actually happened last Saturday night in Rio, when the swimmer and his teammates claimed to have been robbed at gunpoint while returning to the Olympic village. While it’s looking like that might not be exactly what happened, one thing is clear — this entire saga was tailor-made for the movies. You’ve got a gripping protagonist in Lochte, a sex idiot with a secret undercurrent of sadness. You’ve got action, lying, international intrigue — every cornerstone of drama. And you’ve got Rio itself, a city that’s provided an intriguing backdrop to everything from City of God to Fast Five. But which filmmaker should be the one to bring l’affaire de Lochte to the screen? And which lucky hunk should they pick to play the Olympic medalist? Below, we offer Hollywood seven suggestions.
Jeah!, starring Channing Tatum, directed by Steven Soderbergh
Channing Tatum has built a career on having a self-awareness about how you expect a guy who looks like Channing Tatum to behave. Steven Soderbergh possesses a facility for exploring the screwed-up schemes of idiots. Together, they made one of cinema’s most enduring tributes to the male abdomen. Now, they’ve reunited for Jeah!, a gimlet-eyed satire about American ignorants abroad. Told in layered flashbacks, the film follows Brazilian police and IOC officials as they work separately to try to figure out exactly what happened to Lochte that night in Rio — but the real key to the investigation turns out to be Lochte’s mother, Ileana (Ann Dowd).
— Nate Jones (@kn8)
Vera Cruz, starring Alexander Skarsgård, directed by Lars von Trier
Skarsgård played a quiet but meaningful role in von Trier’s Melancholia, and the Swedish actor’s long, smooth athletic frame provides a perfect canvas on which to paint an American Olympic god. Vera Cruz opens with a six-minute slow pan up the length of Skarsgård’s body. As water pours down his skin, every drop shimmers like a tiny crystal. The inciting incident of Lochte’s legal mix-up in Rio would only be acknowledged in sparse lines of dialogue contributed by ancillary characters that Skarsgård’s Lochte meets throughout the film as he strolls the pulsing streets of Rio de Janiero after dark, despondent after failing to even medal in his final race — perhaps the final race of his life. Lochte’s fellow swimmers are played by a mix of local Brazilians and models from the Czech Republic, while Charlotte Gainsbourg makes a cameo as the sexually terrifying French expat named Favela, who guides Lochte beyond the event horizon of his own consciousness.
— Jordan Crucchiola (@JorCru)
Freestyle, starring Chris Hemsworth, directed by Paul Feig
In a fit of desperation, Feig decides to make a movie that no one on the internet could ever get mad at: a Ryan Lochte caper comedy! As embodied by Hemsworth, Lochte is a goof with a heart of gold, whose publicist (Rose Byrne) works hard to keep him out of trouble. But when Lochte gets embroiled in a jewel heist gone wrong, Byrne must enlist the help of an Olympic shot-put champion (Melissa McCarthy) to get him out of Brazil as quickly as possible — even if that means swimming through Rio’s sewage-infested waters.
Rio Sunrise, starring Glen Powell, directed by Richard Linklater
First and foremost, the story of Lochte is a story about bros, and there is no better bard of the bro than Richard Linklater. Did you see Everybody Wants Some!! — that movie has two exclamation points, which is exactly the right number of exclamation points for Ryan Lochte. In this light comedy, Glen Powell (EWS!!, Scream Queens) is our Lochte, a competitive, enthusiastic fellow who has big thoughts about life and meaning but can’t quite fit his head around them. As in Linklater’s Before trilogy, the setting itself is the star: As Lochte and his friends tour Rio, he becomes entranced with the amber sun glinting off the water, the gray mist that surrounds Christ the Redeemer, the small beauties of that one gas station. But this is a doomed love affair, and it goes sour as Lochte and his bros succumb to their worst instincts. Our last scene: Lochte, on the phone looking out the window of an airport terminal, boarding pass in hand, wishing he hadn’t left his bros behind. “Baby!” a flight attendant played by Julie Delpy says. “You’re gonna miss that plane.”
— Jackson McHenry (@McHenryJD)
Lochte Loaded, starring Kellan Lutz, directed by Uwe Boll
In a departure from the historic record, this film climaxes with Ryan Lochte murdering the entire Rio police department.
The Nonplussed Olympian, starring Michael Cera, directed by Wes Anderson
While Cera might seem like a counterintuitive choice for the role of an 11-time Olympic medalist, his slight physical frame actually makes him the ideal star of this film, which takes place at the 1928 Amsterdam Games. (Everyone has curly mustaches.) After a whimsical prologue that tells how Cera’s Antoine Lochte dominated the youth-swimming circuit, we cut to his last day of competition at the Olympics, where he is forced to stand sadly by as everyone around him carouses with Michèle Phelps. Beset by existential ennui, Lochte takes a fateful visit to a curiosity shop with some teammates, all of whom are wearing turquoise jumpsuits. But on the way home, Lochte and his teammates are stopped by a small group of men riding bicycles made of old trombone parts. The language barrier leads to a violent confrontation depicted entirely in stop-motion animation, after which Lochte and his teammates must scramble around the picturesque canals of Amsterdam as they try to get back to the Olympic Village. There is a scene with a prostitute; no one smiles.
The Gate, starring Kit Harington, directed by Jack Bender
At the end of this psychological sci-fi thriller, Michael Phelps (Kristian Nairn) goes mad at the Olympic Village, screaming “Lock the gate! Lock the gate!” Eventually his words blend together until he’s left muttering, “Lochtegate.” Whoa.
— Tara Abell (@tara_abell)