Alejandra Márquez Abella in Talks to Direct Biopic of Mexican American Astronaut (Exclusive)

Abella Hernandez
Courtesy of APA

Alejandra Márquez Abella and Jose Hernandez

Mark Ciardi, who produced 'McFarland USA' as well as the upcoming Disney+ sports drama 'Safety,' and Campbell McInnes are producing the feature that is set up at Netflix.

The true story of Mexican American astronaut is getting the feature treatment from Netflix and filmmaker Alejandra Márquez Abella.

Abella is in final negotiations to direct A Million Miles Away, based on the autobiography Reaching for the Stars by space shuttle astronaut Jose M. Hernandez. Bettina Gilois, the scribe who wrote McFarland, USA and Bessie and who passed away earlier this year, wrote the script that has been revised by Hernán Jiménez.

Mark Ciardi, who produced McFarland USA as well as the upcoming Disney+ sports drama Safety, and Campbell McInnes are producing via Ciardi’s Select Films banner.

The book and the script chronicle the life of Hernandez, who didn’t learn English until the age of 12 and spent his childhood moving from town to town and working fields with his family. He co-developed the first, full-field digital mammography imaging system to detect early breast cancer and persevered through many rejections to become a crewmember of Space Shuttle mission STS-128.

Benito Martinez and Brass Ring Entertainment’s Rick Telles are executive producers.

Miles Away will be the first English-language feature for Abella, the Mexico City-based director whose 2018 feature, The Good Girls, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to rave reviews and garnered 14 nominations and four wins at the Ariel Academy Awards, Mexico’s equivalent of the Oscars.

She has since spearheaded Mexico’s Ya Es Hora movement, along the lines of this country’s #MeToo movement, condemning gender violence and promoting more stories told from the female perspective.

Abella is repped by APA, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Hansen, Jacobson. Hernandez, Martinez, and Telles are also repped by APA.