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Photos: Ryan Gosling Plays the ‘First Man’ to Walk on the Moon in New Film

Ryan Gosling will step into the first boots to step foot on the Moon’s surface in a film being helmed by the Oscar-winning director of La La Land, Damen Chazelle.

Titled First Man, the film is based on the biography First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by author James R. Hansen. Gosling plays the title character. “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,” said director Damien Chazelle to People Magazine. “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.”

Parts of the film were shot with large-format IMAX cameras, assumably that includes the film’s centerpiece, the Apollo 11 launch, and lunar landing. Ultimately, the film is a drama about the life of Neil Armstrong and his struggles. “What fascinated me about Neil Armstrong is that he is kind of a mystery,” said Chazelle. “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.”

Some of the film was shot on location at Johnson Space Center in Houston as well as NASA’s Historic Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida. But while the film will be a visual feast that will have to match up to its storied history, Chazelle says he wants to focus on Armstrong and the man he was.

“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. What did it feel like to be Neil or Janet at that moment in time and going through these truly superhuman kind of events.”

Star Letters was actually on-site for some of the shooting when we joined the press pool for SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launch.

The Elon Musk-founded spaceflight company leased the historic pad that launched Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon from NASA for 20 years. Musk envisions launching the first humans to Mars from the same pad.

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