That Neil Armstrong biopic that Damien Chazelle has been talking about directing for over two years is a definite go project. First Man (based on the same-titled James Hansen biography) will begin shooting sometime in early ’17 with Ryan Gosling portraying the legendary Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.
Armstrong was also regarded as one of the dullest famous guys who ever lived. I’m not suggesting that First Man will be that. Chazelle is too inventive to let that happen. His recreation of the 7.20.69 Apollo 11 moon landing will be worth the price in itself. It was reported eight years ago that the book would be adapted by Nicole Perlman, but Chazelle’s film will be based on a script by Josh Singer(Spotlight, The Fifth Estate).
A 9.24.14 Slashfilm story mentioned that First Man “has been bouncing around Hollywood for over a decade. At one point, Warner Bros. had it set up for Clint Eastwood to produce and direct.”
Here’s something I wrote when Armstrong died in late August of 2012:
“Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon and allegedly one of the dullest guys to ever do something momentous, died today at age 82. Let’s offer due respect for his and NASA’s brilliant achievement and for Armstrong being the super-reliable and resourceful pilot that his colleagues always spoke of.
“Now that I’ve paid my respects I can say that I was always bothered by Armstrong’s historic first words after his feet touched the moon’s surface: ‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’
“Obviously ‘man’ and ‘mankind’ are synonymous so the statement made zero sense, but it would have if Armstrong had simply said “a” man. Instead he ruined it, and that grammatical error is now etched in stone and marble for centuries to come with millions upon millions of unborn people fated to read this silly quote and scratch their heads and look at each other and ask, ‘What…?’
“Armstrong rarely spoke in public, rarely said anything, rarely shared or reflected or expounded. He was a private man who decided early on to keep to himself, and was content to simply be a skilled pilot who did the job. That’s fine in itself, but I’ll never forget Norman Mailer‘s describing Armstrong as a bit of a dolt in his 1971 book “Of a Fire on The Moon.”
“I particularly recall his comparing Armstrong’s responses to press conference questions to the way a cow grazing in a field deals with flies by flicking them away with her tail.
Chazelle will have his work cut out because all the NASA trimmings aside, he’ll essentially be making a movie about that cow.