Ryan Gosling rode so high from the musical-drama La La Land that he could have traveled to the moon and back. Now, he’s actually done just that too, at least in IMAX. The perennial Hollywood heartthrob, at the behest of La La Land‘s Oscar winning writer/director, Damien Chazelle, went out of this world with 2018’s First Man, a lunar-pioneering biopic about Neil Armstrong. Further it included a haunting score by Chazelle’s longtime collaborator, Justin Hurwitz.
First Man will follow Armstrong, the Korean War aviator-turned-astronaut through crucial years, starting in 1961 and culminating on July 20, 1969 when he famously emerged from Apollo 11’s lunar module to take a humanity-defining “one small step” on the moon.
Damien Chazelle pilots the proverbial shuttle of First Man as director, working off a script by Josh Singer (The Fifth Estate, Spotlight), adapting James R. Hansen’s 2005 biography, First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong.
First Man Trailer
The new First Man trailer has arrived!
And here’s the earlier one…
First Man Review
The third act of a Damien Chazelle movie is always a pleasure to behold. Be it the agony and ecstasy of creation (a la Whiplash) or a technicolor daydream of the road not taken (La La Land), the young director has already established a pattern of using his climax to reveal the horror of achieving your dream, and that is no more literal than in the final triumphant moments of First Man, Chazelle’s biopic about Neil Armstrong that reminds moviegoers what the moon landing was: a journey into the unknown. And it’s an unknown the film both yearns for and dreads its entire running time.
First Man Story
As the official synopsis describes:
On the heels of their six-time Academy Award®-winning smash, La La Land, Oscar®-winning director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for Universal Pictures’ First Man, the riveting story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961-1969. A visceral, first-person account, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the movie will explore the sacrifices and the cost—on Armstrong and on the nation—of one of the most dangerous missions in history.
Hansen’s book is an extensive chronicle of Armstrong’s career, based on fifty hours of interviews. For a better glimpse of the nuances of the story that inspired the film, the synopsis for Hansen’s book explains:
Hansen vividly recreates Armstrong’s career in flying, from his seventy-eight combat missions as a naval aviator flying over North Korea to his formative trans-atmospheric flights in the rocket-powered X-15 to his piloting Gemini VIII to the first-ever docking in space. For a pilot who cared more about flying to the Moon than he did about walking on it, Hansen asserts, Armstrong’s storied vocation exacted a dear personal toll, paid in kind by his wife and children. For the near-fifty years since the Moon landing, rumors have swirled around Armstrong concerning his dreams of space travel, his religious beliefs, and his private life.
First Man Cast
Ryan Gosling takes the role of the titular first man (on the moon) himself Neil Armstrong, one of the most beloved figures of contemporary U.S. history, who, on July 20, 1969, famously emerged from the Apollo 11’s lunar module, taking a first step on the surface, making the most significant celestial achievement in human history.
While Gosling was initially eyed for the role back in late 2015, set to join the already-tapped director Chazelle for the project, there was apparently no formal offer on the table. However, coming off the success – alongside Emma Stone – from La La Land, Universal would eventually bring the project back to the forefront.
Claire Foy will play Neil Armstrong’s wife Janet Shearon. Foy has come to prominence starring as a young Queen Elizabeth II on Netflix’s historical royal series The Crown, also seen fielding runs on series such as Wolf Hall, Crossbones, miniseries White Heat, Upstairs Downstairs, miniseries The Promise and miniseries Little Dorrit.
Jon Bernthal (The Punisher, The Walking Dead) will join the cast of First Man, playing Dave Scott, a member of the July 1971 Apollo 15 mission, which made him the seventh of only 12 people who have walked on the surface of the moon. Scott, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, made the transition to space with the March 1966 Gemni 8 space launch, which Neil Armstrong commanded. Later, as part of the March 1969 Apollo 9, he fulfilled a destiny with a lunar landing in 1971.
Corey Stoll (House of Cards, Ant-Man) will play the second man, specifically, the beloved U.S. Air Force commander-turned astronaut (decades later-turned Dancing with the Stars contestant,) Buzz Aldrin. With the film focusing on Ryan Gosling’s Neil Armstrong, Stoll’s Buzz Aldrin should serve as a crucial supporting player in the film, seeing as Armstrong and Aldrin had a special rapport on the mission, notably with their iconic lunar conversation leading to Aldrin coining the phrase, “magnificent desolation” in describing the surroundings. On another interesting note, Aldrin enjoys the distinction of being the first person to urinate on the Moon. So, take THAT, Armstrong!
Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights, The Wolf of Wall Street) will play fellow astronaut Deke Slayton. A World War II pilot and aeronautical engineer, Slayton subsequently joined NASA, notably part of the also-historic 1961-1693 manned space flights of the Mercury Seven program, which was famously depicted in the 1983 film The Right Stuff, in which Slayton was played by Scott Paulin. Slayton later served as NASA’s first chief of the Astronaut Office.
Brian D’Arcy James (Spotlight, Molly’s Game) is continuing his trend of playing important historic figures in award-friendly true stories. D’Arcy James will play Joseph A. Walker, the American astronaut who was the seventh man to go into space, as well as Armstrong’s superior. One who could walk the walk since he flew the first spaceplan flights in history during 1963.
Pablo Schreiber (American Gods) will play Jim Lovell, a name that moviegoers acquainted with director Ron Howard’s 1995 epic, Apollo 13, will know, played by Tom Hanks, as the commander of that film’s depicted 1970 real-life woeful would-be moon landing mission. Before that, Lovell, a Navy pilot recruited by NASA for the Gemni program in 1962, was the command module pilot for the December 1968 Apollo 8 orbital testing of the Lunar Module, alongside Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin; events that First Man will more than likely depict.
Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!
First Man Release Date
First Man will land in theaters on Oct. 12.