2016 has been a rough year for a lot of people, for a lot of reasons. That said, Ryan Gosling is having a pretty stellar year, having starred in both The Nice Guys and La La Land. The former was met with critical praise, despite not doing great at the box office, but La La Land is doing well at the box office and is an awards season favorite, largely thanks to director Damien Chazelle. Apparently, the pairing smells like success because the two are teaming back up for a biopic about astronaut Neil Armstrong.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Ryan Gosling will be playing the American icon in Universal Pictures’ First Man. The movie is based on the book First Man: A Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James Hansen and tells the story of Neil Armstrong, who most people know as the first man to ever set foot on the moon. There has been some Oscar buzz for Ryan Gosling for his work in La La Land, and taking on a project like this has the early workings of something that could also get him some awards recognition down the line. Here is how THR is describing the movie.
“The movie will aim to tell the story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, specifically the years 1961 to 1969, according to studio sources. The goal is to explore the sacrifices and the cost – on Armstrong and on the nation – of one of the most dangerous missions in history.”
First Man has reportedly been in the works for some time, with Ryan Gosling circling the role for more than a year now, but the deal finally closed recently and now things can move forward. Having a director like Damien Chazelle attached certainly doesn’t hurt anything, even if this will be a bit of a departure for him. His last movie Whiplash got quite a bit of awards season love, earning J.K. Simmons a Best Supporting Actor Oscar and his latest movie La La Land should also get quite a bit of Oscar love. The difference being that both of those movies were heavily entrenched in music. Whiplash taking place in the world of very serious jazz musicians and La La Land being more of a traditional musical. Making a biopic about an American hero is definitely a bit different, but he has proven to be a good director, so there is no reason to think he can’t do a good job with First Man.
At the moment Damien Chazelle doesn’t have any other projects listed, so he should be able to devote his full attention to First Man and get the project off the ground. As for Ryan Gosling, he is keeping quite busy. He just finished filming Blade Runner 2049 with Arrival director Denis Villeneuve and has also completed another movie, Weightless. But his schedule also looks to be clear enough for him to get to work on bringing Neil Armstrong to the big screen.
Twilight, The Fault in Our Stars and The Maze Runner producers Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey are set to produce the movie, with Isaac Klausner on as an Executive Producer. There is no word yet on a release date for First Man, but the project is aiming to shoot next year. Assuming La La Land does as well at the Academy Awards this year as everyone is expecting, Universal will surely make the movie a top priority moving forward.