The summer might be just getting started, but the fall award season is right around the corner. So it’s time to start getting some first looks at the movies that will be contending for 2018 awards. After winning a best director Oscar last year, Damien Chazelle is back with First Man, a look into the life Neil Armstrong. People got a first look at the movie and an interview with Chazelle.
“What fascinated me about Neil Armstrong is that he is kind of a mystery,” Chazelle says. “For someone that accomplished something that is among one of the most famous things that anyone has ever accomplished, the human himself is a little bit of an enigma. And it’s funny, the first time I ever met Ryan was to pitch him this role, before we did La La Land together, so it was a dream to have him in this role.”
Chazelle really wants to dig into the mind of a person that go on this mission that could have easily gone very wrong.
“I was fascinated by the psychology of what can drive someone to do what Neil Armstrong did, to physically go further than any human being in history pretty much, in terms of the journey he goes on,” he says. “I think Ryan is able to capture that kind of drive, that kind of methodical focus, that kind of quiet heroism.”
Gosling is pretty low key when it comes to a celebrity, which worked out perfectly considering Armstrong was the same way.
“Neil was not a showy person. A lot of the other astronauts and pilots of that era were what you expect, the outgoing, hotshot types, but Neil was very different. He was the brainier, quieter, more introverted person and he’s a man of few words who did the job and got it done. I see a little bit of Ryan in that as well and I think Ryan was able to capture it beautifully.”
While this is a story about a bunch of people going into space, at the heart is the story of family. Armstrong had a wife and young kids, and there was no guarantee that he’d come home.
“Ryan and I described the movie to each other as it’s about the moon and the kitchen, which means basically we wanted to tell the story about one of the most epic accomplishments in human history, but root it very much in the intimate and the day to day details of what it was actually like.” he says. “What did it feel like to be Neil or Janet at that moment in time and going through these truly superhuman kind of events. I wanted to try to tell the sort of epic space movie [story] but root it very much in family and in love and loss and marriage and parenthood and what those things mean.”
This is absolutely going to get an awards push, but it’s nice to see that we’re not stuck in the same time period we usually are. Space and technology tend to confuse academy voters, who are usually about 150 years old. The first trailer for First Man was shown at CinemaCon, so we can expect, now that we have images, that footage is on the way.
Summary: A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969.
First Man, directed by Damien Chazelle, starring Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Pablo Schreiber, Kyle Chandler, Jon Bernthal, and Jason Clarke. It will be released on October 12th.