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“We tell the story through the perspective of Neil Armstrong and his wife, Janet, and their family and just try to demythologize that moment in history, show what it really took and how hard it really was,” the director told The Hollywood Reporter at the Toronto Film Festival.
For Ryan Gosling, who portrays Armstrong in the film, the most difficult part of stepping into the space suit was knowing “Neil and Janet’s sons were going to see it.”
Actress Olivia Hamilton, who portrays Pat White, wife of astronaut Ed White, added, “Playing a real person whose family is going to see the movie, it felt like it just raised the stakes tremendously and especially, I won’t give anything away, (as) a character that experiences the dramatic impact of the mission, I just felt a strong duty to do the woman justice.”
Chazelle explained to THR how he took a “well-documented event” in American history and gave audiences a different perspective that isn’t as well-known.
“What we felt was the one thing we could add to the equation, that wouldn’t just be duplicating stuff that we’ve already seen, would be to really tell the untold story, moments that I hadn’t really known anything about,” he said. “Neil’s time that he spent alone at the Little West Crater and what may have happened there, what may have crossed his mind, what the moon might have looked like literally though his eyes.
“I think those were these very private, emotional or psychological moments that I think Ryan and I and all of us wanted to try to dig into and become our guideline on how to do it,” he added.
Watch the First Man cast discuss the film and why Gosling calls playing Armstrong an “honor” below.
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