More is coming to light about First Man, the next film from Oscar-winning filmmaker Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash).
The acclaimed writer-director is following up his hit musical with a film about astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first person to step foot on the moon. Ryan Gosling is playing Armstrong, Claire Foy (The Crown, Unsane) is playing his wife and Corey Stall is playing Buzz Aldren. The impressive cast also includes Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke, Shea Whigham, and Jon Bernthal.
Judging from what Oscar-winning screenwriter Josh Singer (Spotlight, The Post) had to say in an interview with The Boston Globe, First Man may very well be Chazelle’s most action-heavy film. Singer says the filmmaker had a clear focus: getting us to feel as close as possible what it was like for Armstrong.
“Damien had a very clear vision from the outset. He said, ‘Can we get across how challenging this was? Can we get across the visceral nature of this?’ The space program has been depicted, tonally, on the softer side in the past,” Singer told the news outlet.
“Damien said, ‘I want to be terrified the entire time.’ It’s one of the earliest things we talked about. Neil’s heroism isn’t because he landed on the moon, it’s because he had the wherewithal to live through it all.”
Singer made it clear that Chazelle’s aiming to rack up the tension during the major set pieces, of which he says there are “at least five” that are action-focused.
“This is 100 percent a mission movie. It’s about going to the moon as seen through the eyes of the guy who got there,” he said. “If your heart rate doesn’t go through the roof, if you’re not gripping the edge of your seat the entire times, I’ll be shocked.”
Chazelle may be more known for directing music-oriented features Whiplash and La La Land, but he’s screenwriting credits demonstrate an affinity for tension and genre fare; he co-wrote 10 Cloverfield Land and penned the moderately successful, Elijah-Wood-must-play-the-piano-on-stage-perfectly-or-get-shot-by-a-sniper thriller Grand Piano.
First Man, based on the book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen, is scheduled to arrive in Australia on October 11 and open in the US on October 12.