One of the best films of 2018 is First Man. Directed by Oscar-winning Whiplash and La La Land filmmaker Damien Chazelle, the film is based on a book by James R. Hansen and chronicles the amazing behind-the-scenes story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong between the years of 1961 and 1969. Ryan Gosling fills the role of Armstrong in the film, with Emmy-winning The Crown actress Claire Foy playing Armstrong’s wife Janet. The film also stars Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Patrick Fugit, Ciaran Hinds, Ethan Embry, Lukas Haas, Shea Whigham, Corey Stoll, and Pablo Schreiber. First Man was written by Oscar-winning Spotlight and The Post co-writer Josh Singer and produced by Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen alongside Chazelle and Gosling.
While we’ve all seen a number of movie and TV projects about the early days of NASA and the space race, Chazelle opens the door to a new way of looking at the subject matter with the way he frames the events on screen. Trust me, even though I knew which missions were successful I was on the edge of my seat as I watched the astronauts attempt to do the impossible. I cannot recommend this movie enough and I’m extremely confident it will be up for all the big awards at the upcoming Oscars.
Last week, I got to visit Kennedy Space Center in Florida to conduct interviews for the film. In today’s installment, Josh Singer and James R. Hansen talk about their early conversations and how they’ve been working together for years, the various issues they each ran into during the writing process, how Singer was able to work out the mission control sequences even though he didn’t have the transcripts, the challenge of writing for Neil Armstrong since he rarely shows emotion, and more.
Check out what they had to say in the player above and look for more interviews all week.
Josh Singer and James R. Hansen:
- They talk about their early conversations and how they’ve been working together for years.
They each talk about some of times that ran into issues during the writing process.
- Writing the mission control sequences when they didn’t have the transcripts.
- The challenge of writing for Neil Armstrong since he rarely shows emotion.
- James R. Hansen on writing the book.
Here’s the official synopsis for First Man:
On the heels of their six-time Academy Award®-winning smash, La La Land, Oscar®-winning director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for Universal Pictures’ First Man, the riveting story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961-1969. A visceral, first-person account, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the movie will explore the sacrifices and the cost—on Armstrong and on the nation—of one of the most dangerous missions in history.