Damien Chazelle explored the ‘uncertainty’ of space with First Man
Director Damien Chazelle’s new movie delves into the life of U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong.
Damien Chazelle wanted to explore the “uncertainty” of space travel in movie First Man.
The director is gearing up to start promoting the biographical drama, which is based on James R. Hansen’s 2005 book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong and looks at the life of the American astronaut and his involvement in the United States space programme.
Chazelle is reuniting with his La La Land star Ryan Gosling on the movie, with the actor taking on the lead role, and the filmmaker has now shared that he wanted to convey a very realistic view of what it was like to be involved with NASA in the late 1960s.
"We don't think about how dangerous that first era of space travel really was,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “We might know about some of the disasters, but we think largely in a triumphalist way. We hear trumpets blaring and see the flag waving and it all looks noble and dignified in a way that makes it seem easy, like a fait accompli. I wanted to unwind all of that and make it as scary and uncertain as it really was."
Chazelle went on to explain that he knew very little about Armstrong when he first started researching the film. But he spoke with NASA experts and some surviving astronauts, including Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, in order to get a sense of exactly how risky space travel to the moon would be.
"I remember thinking, if I could somehow get this movie to capture that combination of the utterly mundane and the utterly terrifying and the awe-inspiring (it would be wonderful). But that's a difficult combo," the 33-year-old added.
In addition to filming at air force bases, Chazelle also had Gosling and Claire Foy, who portrays Armstrong’s first wife Janet, and their onscreen children improvise some scenes before the shoot began.
First Man, also features House of Cards actor Corey Stoll and Bloodline star Kyle Chandler, is due to hit cinemas in October (18).
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