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SYFY WIRE Ryan Gosling

Phil Lord & Chris Miller go for launch with Ryan Gosling on The Martian writer's follow-up

By Josh Grossberg
First Man

Ryan Gosling is going back into space.

He landed on the moon in 2017’s Neil Armstrong biopic First Man, and now thanks to MGM, the Hollywood star is teaming up with directing duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller for another astronaut-themed thriller, this one based on The Martian scribe Andy Weir’s upcoming yet-to-be-titled novel tentatively being referred to as Project Hail Mary.

Gosling was rumored back in March to be producing and potentially playing the lead in Weir's latest spacefaring adventure, which isn't even scheduled for release until spring 2021. But with the LEGO Movie auteurs aboard, now it's official.

"All of us at MGM are incredibly excited by this literal dream team coming together around Andy’s astounding novel. With their masterful ability to balance drama, action, and humor, Phil and Chris are the perfect filmmakers to take on this unique material,” said MGM's Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy, per Variety.

Sources told the trade that before Gosling was even done reading the manuscript — which centers on an astronaut on a spaceship tasked with saving the planet — the actor lobbied MGM to hire Lord and Miller to take the helm.

But there was one small hitch. The filmmakers — whose other hits include Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street, and writing and producing Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse — had recently signed a first-look deal with Universal Pictures. But after some apparent schmoozing, MGM chief De Luca and Universal Chairwoman Donna Langley worked things out for the duo to make the Weir adaptation their next directorial effort.

Phil Lord and Chris Miller

Veteran producer Amy Pascal, who worked with Lord and Miller on Spidey, reportedly played a key role in getting the manuscript to them for their review. She'll produce along with Gosling, Ken Kao, Weir, and Aditya Sood, the president of Lord and Miller's production company, who also served as a producer on The Martian.

This isn't the first space outing for the directing team. Lord and Miller were the original directors on Disney/Lucasfilm's Solo: A Star Wars Story, before creative differences led to their abrupt exit from the Han Solo prequel, and Ron Howard was brought in to complete the job. But the duo bounced back with Into the Spider-Verse, which was both a critical and commercial hit, won the Oscar for Best Animated Picture, and reminded studio heads and the rest of us of the duo's knack for comedy, thrills, and action.