Ryan Gosling has had a swell career thus far playing a diverse range of characters, but he may soon be tackling an American hero. Per Deadline, Universal Pictures is courting the actor to star in the Neil Armstrong biopic First Man, which has Whiplash helmer Damien Chazelle set to direct. Scripted by Spotlight co-writer Josh Singer, the film charts the historical Apollo 11 mission that resulted in Armstrong being the first human to set foot on the moon.
It appears that it’s early in the process so there’s no guarantee the deal will work out, but the interest is likely on account of Chazelle’s involvement. Gosling recently wrapped the musical La La Land opposite Emma Stone, which serves as Chazelle’s directorial follow-up to the critically acclaimed Whiplash. Clearly the two enjoyed working together, and Universal would certainly love to be able to tout Gosling as the star of its Neil Armstrong movie.
When Steve spoke with Chazelle last fall on the Whiplash press tour, the filmmaker stressed that his Armstrong picture wouldn’t be a traditional biopic:
“I sort of hesitate to call it a biopic. It’s a mission movie. It’s purely about the landing… It will cover about six years. It’ll start with him joining NASA and will end in ’69 with the landing. So it’s purely a process movie, it’s a movie about building up to that achievement.”
That’s certainly the way to go when tackling a biopic—Walk Hard pretty much killed the cradle-to-grave formula—and one imagines with Gosling onboard this would be a priority project for Universal. The actor is set to lead the sci-fi sequel Blade Runner 2 for director Denis Villeneuve, which starts shooting next summer, so if he does decide to sign onto Chazelle’s Armstrong pic, it likely wouldn’t begin filming until late next year. La La Land, meanwhile, opens in theaters next July.