So now that Lance Armstrong has come out and admitted to cheating, naturally the next step is figuring out who's going to play him in the movie.

News broke last week that Paramount Pictures and J.J. Abrams are planning a biopic about Armstrong and Bradley Cooper has volunteered himself for the role of the cyclist. Though now that news broke Thursday that Abrams is taking on the next "Star Wars," in addition to being responsible for the re-booted "Star Trek" franchise, maybe he's going to be short on time.

"I would be interested in (playing Armstrong)," Cooper told BBC News. "I think he's fascinating. What a fascinating character."

So ... he's fascinating, then?

The film will be based on the upcoming book "Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong," by Juliet Macur. After years of denial, Armstrong recently spoke to Oprah about his doping past.

Cooper is currently up for an Academy Award for his role in "Silver Linings Playbook." The actor was also nominated for a Golden Globe award for his performance, but lost to Hugh Jackman, who nabbed the award for his role in "Les Miserables."

J.J. ABRAMS TAKING ON 'STAR WARS': This should make "Star Wars" fans happy.

J.J. Abrams has apparently changed his mind and agreed to direct the next "Star Wars" film for Disney, taking stewardship of one of Hollywood's most iconic and lucrative film franchises, according to TheWrap. website

"Argo" director Ben Affleck was also in contention, another source told TheWrap. And thanks, Ben, for your interest. But we -- I mean, uh "Star Wars" needs someone like Abrams.

Wow. So now Abrams is in charge of both "Star Wars and "Star Trek." That's kind of like being elected the president of the United States back in 1984 when you already are president of the Soviet Union.

No, I'm not too excited to be writing this. Let's move on.

Ever since Disney bought Lucasfilm last year and announced it would make new "Star Wars" films, fans, members of the media and industry executives have speculated about which director would take the job. Abrams told Entertainment Weekly in November that he wasn't going to take the job.

He did say "Star Wars" was the first movie that "blew my mind" in terms of special effects.

Lucasfilm Chief Kathleen Kennedy has been courting Abrams, one of the most successful directors and producers in Hollywood -- and a man beloved by fanboys. He runs one of the industry's top production companies, Bad Robot, and created or co-created television franchises like "Lost," "Fringe" and "Alias." He has also directed film spectacles "Mission: Impossible III," "Star Trek" and "Super 8."

Yay.

Abrams has been feverishly working on "Star Trek Into Darkness," for Paramount, his second Star Trek film since he rebooted the franchise in 2009. "Into Darkness," still in postproduction, opens May 18.

Though he has several producing jobs in front of him, Abrams had been uncommitted as a director. He will have to jump right into "Star Wars," which Disney has slated for a 2015 release. "Little Miss Sunshine" screenwriter Michael Arndt is penning the script.

Reached by TheWrap, Lynne Hale, spokeswoman for Lucasfilm, declined to comment immediately.

SYLVESTER STALLONE BLACKMAILED BY SISTER: Sylvester Stallone gave his sister millions in blackmail money back in the 1980s, after she threatened to ruin his career over false allegations.

Then he made "Rocky 5," and it really didn't matter anymore.

Stallone's half-sibling, Toni-Ann Filiti, died of lung cancer last year at the age of 48. It's now come out that her famous brother handed her a multimillion dollar sum in the 1980s, and agreed to pay her a monthly income and set up a trust to cover her medical expenses.

A representative for Stallone confirmed the payout and said the money was paid after Filiti blackmailed the star with a series of false allegations of physical abuse.

Look, it's well-known that men on steroids never get physically abuse, so no one was going to believe that.

Orf maybe I got that backwards.

Anyway, the spokesperson told the New York Post gossip column Page Six, "Unfortunately, celebrities, politicians and athletes frequently find themselves the targets of blackmail efforts by family members and associates who fabricate claims in order to extort payments from them."

Stallone's mother, Jackie, has also opened up about the alleged blackmail plot, claiming Filiti was addicted to prescription drugs and the actor was trying to help her.

She said, "This was nothing more than a shakedown. Toni-Ann was on 65 Oxycontin pills a day, and she threatened Sylvester. A drug addict will do anything. When Sylvester became famous ... He was trying to help her. He caved in ... At the time (in 1987) he was very hot, and his lawyers said, 'Give her something just to shut her up.'"

HALLE BERRY DIPS CHEST INTO GUACOMOLE: Halle Berry took her top off and dunked her bare breast into a bowl of guacamole on the set of "Movie 43," according to the film's director.

That sound you just heard was approximately 100 million men, firing up their computers to buy advanced tickets for "Movie 43."

Filmmaker Peter Farrelly dropped the bombshell during an "Ask Me Anything" session on website Reddit on Wednesday morning, when someone asked him which actor surprised him the most on the set.

"I would have to say Halle Berry," Farrelly said. "I was a little nervous about meeting her because her scene is so outrageous and I was afraid she might get on the set and balk. ... Not only did she not, but she thought the scene was too soft, and asked us to amp it up a little."

I guess that would do it.

"We ended up coming up with a couple of things for her to do that weren't scripted, but were insane. To give you an example (her scene) is about a couple (she and Stephen Merchant) who play Truth or Dare on a first date. Among other things she ended up sticking her bare breast into a bowl of guacamole. She couldn't have been more fun to work with."

Obviously.

Ensemble comedy "Movie 43" features storylines helmed by 12 different directors and cast that also includes Hugh Jackman, Emma Stone, Chloe Grace Moretz, Gerard Butler, Seann William Scott, Kate Winslet, Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Bell and Naomi Watts. It opens Jan. 25.

LANCE ARMSTRONG SAYS NO TO 'DANCING WITH THE STARS': Lance Armstrong has again been asked to do ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," show sources confirmed to E! News. And he has again declined.

Producers have apparently asked Armstrong "several" times over the years, but really wanted him for this spring's edition, after his headline-grabbing Oprah Winfrey interview, in which he admitted to doping. "The higher-ups feel he is exactly what the show needs to bring back viewers," said one source.

"Lance has been offered the show each and every year since its inception. Although flattered, he has passed on their generous offers," a spokesman for Armstrong told Entertainment Weekly, who first broke the story.

Can contestants do drugs? If they could, maybe he'd reconsider.

According to insiders, producers are courting a "more sensational" and "youthful" cast for the upcoming season after the most recent All-Star season flatlined in the ratings.

"We still intend to keep (DWTS) going twice a year," ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee said earlier this month at the TV Critics press tour, "It's still a big, broad, crowd pleaser. I think the All-Star version made it a little bit older. I think we have the ability of casting fresh and bringing in the younger audience again. We think there's a lot of life in it--16 million viewers is a lot of viewers." Season 16 premieres March 18.

Lindsay Lohan recently turned down the show, as well.

Contact Tony Hicks at thicks@bayareanewsgroup.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks.

JANUARY 25 IN HISTORY

Friday is Jan. 25, the 25th day of 2013. There are 340 days left in the year.

1533: England's King Henry VIII secretly married his second wife, Anne Boleyn, who later gave birth to Elizabeth I.

1787: Shays's Rebellion suffered a setback when debt-ridden farmers led by Capt. Daniel Shays failed to capture an arsenal at Springfield, Mass.

1863: During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln accepted Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside's resignation as commander of the Army of the Potomac, and replaced him with Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker.

1890: Reporter Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Cochrane) of the New York World completed a round-the-world journey in 72 days, 6 hours and 11 minutes. The United Mine Workers of America was founded in Columbus, Ohio.

1915: Alexander Graham Bell inaugurated U.S. transcontinental telephone service between New York and San Francisco.

1936: Former Gov. Al Smith, D-N.Y., delivered a radio address in Washington, titled "Betrayal of the Democratic Party," in which he fiercely criticized the New Deal policies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

1947: American gangster Al Capone died in Miami Beach, Fla., at age 48.

1949: The first Emmy Awards, honoring local Los Angeles TV programs and talent, were presented at the Hollywood Athletic Club.

1961: President John F. Kennedy held the first presidential news conference to be carried live on radio and television.

1971: Charles Manson and three women followers were convicted in Los Angeles of murder and conspiracy in the 1969 slayings of seven people, including actress Sharon Tate. Idi Amin seized power in Uganda by ousting President Milton Obote in a military coup.

1981: The 52 Americans held hostage by Iran for 444 days arrived in the United States.

1993: A gunman shot and killed two CIA employees outside agency headquarters in Virginia (Pakistani national Mir Aimal Kansi was later tried and convicted of the shootings, and executed). Sears announced that it would no longer publish its famous century-old catalog.

1998: Pope John Paul II ended his historic journey to Cuba.

2003: NASA launched a spacecraft into orbit to measure all of the radiation streaming toward Earth from the sun. Serena Williams survived an error-filled match to beat elder sister Venus 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-4 to win the Australian Open for her fourth straight major championship. Marcus Allen, Elvin Bethea, Joe DeLamielleure, James Lofton and Hank Stram were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

2008: President George W. Bush urged Congress to quickly pass an economic stimulus package void of extraneous spending, saying only quick action would kickstart the sputtering economy.

2012: U.S. military forces flew into Somalia in a nighttime helicopter raid, freeing an American and a Danish hostage and killing nine pirates. U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona returned to Congress to officially tender her resignation a year after she was shot and severely wounded in her home district. First lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, along with celebrity chef Rachael Ray, announced new guidelines for more healthful school meals during a visit with elementary students in Alexandria, Va.

BIRTHDAYS

Actor Dean Jones (82), actress Dinah Manoff (55), actress China Kantner (42), actress Mia Kirshner (38), actress Christine Lakin (34), rhythm-and-blues singer Alicia Keys (32), actor Michael Trevino (TV: "The Vampire Diaries") (28).

Associated Press