“Fifty years [after NASA’s first manned flight to the moon] America doesn’t do such an out-of-this-world job when it comes to racial inclusivity,” Adams has written. “First Man is a reminder of such inequality.
“The early reception for Damien Chazelle’s space epic since its premiere at the Telluride Film Festival last month has been superlative. Under the National Review headline “First Man is the movie of the Year,” my friend and former New York Post colleague Kyle Smith joined with the majority who found the biopic 82 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. He crowed “First Man is why we go to the movies.”
“To that I ask, ‘What do you mean we, white man?’
“Nothing like the last month in America shows the cracks in the American melting pot, and the impossibility of a cultural ‘we.’ Most semi-woke individuals sometime during the 141-minute movie will notice the absence of people of color in speaking roles. Not there on the mammoth screen. Not there historically. Not in space. And possibly absent from the audience.”
In other words, Adams seems to be saying, First Man would have been more in synch with woke America and might have generated a more bountiful box-office if Chazelle had ignored history and cast an African=American actor in one of the principal roles.
She seems to be suggesting that First Man would have been in better cultural shape if Chazelle had cast, say, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Ed White, one of the Appollo astronauts who tragically died on the Cape Kennedy launch pad in 1967. Or as Roger Chaffee or Virgil “Gus” Grissom.
Why not, right? The only thing that matters these days is inclusion and representation. Hollywood has a duty to push back against racial discrimination in all its forms, and that includes accurate but harmful depictions of U.S. history.