If you like your space exploration with a side of Ryan Gosling, then this is the perfect upcoming film for you. The First Man trailer stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong and it looks beyond intense. The movie is based on the real-life events that led to NASA's successful Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. In addition to featuring Gosling as the titular first man, the incredible Claire Foy stars as his then-wife, Janet Shearon.
Rounding out the core cast are Kyle Chandler (from Friday Night Lights and Bloodline), Pablo Schreiber (who is so much more than his Pornstache character from Orange is The New Black) and Jason Clarke, which means that this is shaping up to be one handsome movie. Damien Chazelle, the director behind La La Land and Whiplash, is likely about to have another box-office smash on his hands.
According to IMDb, First Man takes place from 1961-1969, and follows a core group of NASA astronauts, engineers, and more as they develop the program that would eventually take U.S. Astronauts to the moon. The trailer dropped during Jimmy Kimmel Live on June 8, and is already creating buzz online — no pun intended, Buzz Aldrin! — for all the best reasons. In a word, it is breathtaking.
Watch the intense First Man trailer below, and don't forget to exhale:
It's a credit to the filmmaker that a well-known event, one that features an astronaut whose work is so significant, it immediately made him a household name, is able to feel so captivating in his hands. The moon landing is literally taught in American schools — there shouldn't be too many surprises here. Even so, you're instantly plunged into the trailer. The cinematography and first-person framing immerses you in the world of '60s spacecrafts instantly. You can feel the characters' tension, the euphoria — the weight of the universe on their shoulders. And there's a reason for that.
Chazelle's film is based on a book of the same name by James R. Hansen, who has written extensively about the history of America's aerospace efforts. He's currently a professor emeritus at Auburn University, and previously served as a historian for NASA, according to a biography on his publisher's website. The story offers an ideal combination of history, math, science, general aerospace engineering that's borderline incomprehensible to the average human, gifted actors, an inspiring trajectory (pun intended that time), and the emotional gut-punch that makes a movie endlessly enjoyable — not to mention, instantly re-watchable. For these reasons, First Man has all the hallmarks of the next great classic. With one exception.
A caveat: As intense as the First Man trailer looks, it comes across as lacking in a significant way. Considering the recent success of true-life story Hidden Figures, audiences are well aware of the fact that not just men, but women — women of color, especially — were instrumental in NASA's first missions to space. The first look at First Man does not display such diversity in the workplace. With the exception of Foy's character, and one woman journalist toward the end, the trailer suggests a cast that is overwhelmingly white and male.
Of course, it's entirely possible that it isn't the case for the entire film. Perhaps the trailer was simply cut for the most dramatic effect, and a lot of said drama rests on Gosling and Chandler, who do play two real-life NASA professionals who were white men. It's simply worth noting that the trailer omits most signs of the film's diversity — especially considering Chazelle was heavily scrutinized for his choices with La La Land. (Some critics argued that the director was "whitesplaining" jazz music upon the film's 2016 release.)
Again, this is only the first look at First Man so far! The film doesn't open until October 2018. The complete version will likely contain so much more than the initial trailer can to capture. Hopefully, the studio will assuage any concerns by releasing a more inclusive version soon.