The upcoming Neil Armstrong film First Man will not be a traditional biopic, screenwriter Josh Singer promises. Instead, Singer says, the film will be more akin to an action movie.
Based on the book of the same name by James Hansen, First Man tells the story of Neil Armstrong and his becoming the first person to set foot on the moon. The film is due in theaters in October and stars Ryan Gosling (Blade Runner 2049) as Armstrong. Others in the cast include Claire Foy (Unsane, The Crown), Corey Stoll (The Strain, House of Cards), Kyle Chandler (Super 8), Jon Bernthal (The Punisher, The Walking Dead) and Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes). Damien Chazelle (La La Land) directs.
In an interview with The Boston Globe, Singer describes his discussion with director Chazelle about the direction the film should take.
“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. 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 describes First Man as a "mission movie." "It’s about going to the moon as seen through the eyes of the guy who got there. We have at least five major set pieces that are action, and 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.”