Ryan Gosling’s Neil Armstrong biopic First Man will hit theaters this October, but the film’s screenwriter says audiences shouldn’t expect it to follow the usual space movie formula.
Directed by Damien Chazelle, First Man will document astronaut Armstrong’s journey to the moon, specifically NASA’s efforts to prepare him. The film is based on James R. Hansen’s 2005 book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong and will reportedly cover the years 1961 to 1969. First Man reunites Chazelle and Gosling after their previous collaboration La La Land, a 2016 romantic comedy musical that received 14 Oscar nominations, including a win for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, Best Production Design and Best Actress for Emma Stone. In 2014, Chazelle’s drama Whiplash also won three Academy Awards.
Per The Boston Globe, First Man won’t be a traditional biopic, but rather an action film. Co-screenwriter Josh Singer broke the news, suggesting that Chazelle and company will focus on the “visceral” aspects, and that First Man will 100 percent be “a mission movie.” Singer also stated that five set pieces were filmed, and that Chazelle wanted to be “terrified the entire time.” According to the interview, First Man will mostly emphasize the survival aspects of its story, instead of focusing solely on the unique experience of having landed on the moon.
Singer is best known for scripting the 2015 journalism docudrama Spotlight, for which he won an Oscar. More recently, he earned an Oscar nomination for co-writing Steven Spielberg’s 2017 own journalism docudrama, The Post. For First Man, Singer teamed up with Guardians of the Galaxy co-writer Nicole Perlman.
Currently in post-production, First Man co-stars Claire Foy as Janet Shearon, Armstrong’s first wife. In supporting roles, she’s joined by Corey Stoll, Kyle Chandler, and Jason Clarke. Last August, The Punisher actor Jon Bernthal was cast, before American Gods’ Pablo Schreiber joined the project in October. Foy, an English actress, played Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix’s The Crown and recently starred in Steven Soderbergh’s 2018 psychological thriller Unsane. Later this year, she will portray Lisbeth Salander in The Girl in the Spider’s Web, the latest big screen adaptation of the Millennium novel series.
When First Man hits theaters, the Chazelle/Gosling pairing will undoubtedly appeal to the arthouse crowd. Chazelle has further proven himself capable of developing effective tension-fueled sequences, as evidenced by Whiplash and his script work on the 2013 thriller Grand Piano. Educated at Harvard, Chazelle most definitely has an inquisitive mind, and First Man should be quite the spectacle, at least given the latest news on the production design.
Source: The Boston Globe
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