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  "First Man" Neil Armstrong feature film updates (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   "First Man" Neil Armstrong feature film updates
Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-16-2007 02:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sources tell collectSPACE.com:

Warner Brothers' and Clint Eastwood's option on James Hansen's authorized biography of Neil Armstrong, First Man expired on March 1 and was not renewed.

Reportedly, Eastwood felt that the film would require "too much heavy lifting" in light of having just tackled two very large projects on Iwo Jima.

When word got out that Eastwood had stepped out, other production companies and studios stepped in. Reportedly, the most serious of those interests is from 21 Laps Entertainment and director Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum and the upcoming movie adaptation of The Flash), working with Twentieth Century Fox.

21 Laps has looked to screenwriter Nicole Perlman (no relation) to develop a screenplay based on First Man. Perlman previously wrote the screenplay for Challenger, the upcoming film about Richard Feynman and the 1986 space shuttle accident, directed by Philip Kaufman. Reportedly, Perlman and Hansen have been in touch.

The next step is for Hansen and Perlman to present their ideas for the screenplay to 21 Laps executives next month, followed a few weeks later by a pitch to the studio.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-02-2008 10:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Variety: Universal puts 'First Man' into orbit
Studio acquires Hansen's Neil Armstrong tome

Universal has acquired nonfiction tome "First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong" and will turn it into a film about the first person to set foot on the moon.

NASA historian James R. Hansen got rare direct access to Armstrong, a test pilot-turned-astronaut who was so driven to reach the moon and play the role of American hero that he became known as "the Ice Commander."

Nicole Perlman will write the script. Temple Hill Entertainment partners Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey produce.

"The closer he got to the moon, the further away he became from his family," Perlman said. "He had a family tragedy before Apollo that turned him into this driven astronaut, and he became such a perfect hero that while Buzz Aldrin was announced to be the first man on the moon, NASA reversed its decision because Neil was regarded as more heroic."

Armstrong returned from the moon as one of the most famous men on Earth but didn't capitalize on it with a political career or endorsements. He reconnected with his family, shut out the world and became an intensely private man.

Perlman just rewrote her script "Challenger, a project about Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman's investigation into the 1986 Space Shuttle tragedy. Originally set up at Media 8 with "The Right Stuff" helmer Phil Kaufman, "Challenger" now has Nathaniel Kahn ("My Architect") attached to direct, and it will go out to financiers shortly.

Perlman is also scripting "Kiss and Tango" for Fox 2000, and she is writing a pic about the Wright brothers for National Geographic Films based on the book "One Day at Kitty Hawk" by John Evangelist Walsh.

mjanovec
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posted 04-02-2008 10:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"The closer he got to the moon, the further away he became from his family," Perlman said. "He had a family tragedy before Apollo that turned him into this driven astronaut, and he became such a perfect hero that while Buzz Aldrin was announced to be the first man on the moon, NASA reversed its decision because Neil was regarded as more heroic."
Is this going to be The Right Stuff Part 2? I hope there is a little more emphasis on fact in the movie than this quote would indicate.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-02-2008 11:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My understanding is that Perlman was misunderstood or misquoted by Variety. She is well aware of the facts as presented in "First Man" and would not have made an error such as saying that Aldrin was announced to be first. Hansen's work does address the decision as to why Armstrong went first (citing Kraft for the part about Armstrong's character) but it also addresses the reasons that are presented by the historical record.

Although I have yet to see the screenplay, based on what I know of Hansen's and Perlman's work, I would suggest that the Variety article does not reflect the nature of the film.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-13-2008 02:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There's an odd article from the Guardian in which it describes critics bandying about actors' names for the roles of Armstrong and Aldrin in the upcoming "First Man" film adaptation. What's odd about it that it mentions a meeting/event "last night" but never defines what/where it was...

(The article also makes the common error of thinking that "One small step..." was scripted, when all indications are that Armstrong devised the line during the flight.)

Hollywood hunts star to play first man on the Moon

It was one small step for man but could be one giant leap in the career of an actor. Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon, is to be the subject of a Hollywood biopic. The only question now is: who is worthy of filling the spaceboots of the 20th-century icon who 'came in peace for all mankind'?

Wehaveliftoff
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posted 04-14-2008 09:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Wehaveliftoff   Click Here to Email Wehaveliftoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My vote is for Matt Damon or Chad Lowe!!

jimsz
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posted 04-14-2008 12:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jimsz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would vote for Tom Hanks.

fabfivefreddy
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posted 04-14-2008 03:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ed Harris

astro-nut
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posted 04-14-2008 04:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astro-nut   Click Here to Email astro-nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How about the actor that played Neil Armstrong in "From The Earth To the Moon" series?

Naraht
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posted 04-14-2008 05:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Naraht   Click Here to Email Naraht     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by fabfivefreddy:
Ed Harris

Now that would be interesting. He might be a bit too old for the part, though?

ColinBurgess
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posted 04-14-2008 07:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Most of those preferred actors (Hanks, Harris, etc.) are way too old to play the role of Armstrong, but my personal choice is Matt Damon, who not only resembles Armstrong a little, but is now the same age as Armstrong was when he stepped onto the moon.

Matt T
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posted 04-15-2008 02:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The only problem with Matt Damon is that he is typically too 'Hollywood-heroic' in his movie roles these days to play a realistic Armstrong. I'd worry that his inclusion could push the film in the 'Right Stuff' direction.

I think you'd need someone a little more complex and offbeat to really capture Armstrong.

mikelarson
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posted 04-15-2008 10:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikelarson   Click Here to Email mikelarson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Matt Damon, hands down. With Universal behind the project it's going to get somewhat heroic no matter who they choose because that's what brings in the moviegoers and they are a big production studio with stockholders.

Tom Hanks is the only guy I can think of that could have pulled off Apollo 13 the way he did, and besides his age they would never cast him in the lead of another Apollo-related movie. That would just confuse average people who would think it's a sequel to A13.

But Matt is versatile enough to play a serious role, too, in addition to his action hero skills. Don't forget how he got his start with Good Will Hunting. And Matt is by far the most intellectual of today's current big name actors and has a great screen presence. And he's Jason Bourne!! Did I mention that?

On a side note, I haven't yet read the book but I hope Buzz, Mike, and the rest of the team aren't left in the shadows. That was one of the things that made Apollo 13 great, is that it wasn't about just one person. Might be tough though given the entire basis for the story is Armstrong.

I wonder what the movie will do for the price of Armstrong autographs. They can't go any higher, can they?

Wehaveliftoff
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posted 04-15-2008 11:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Wehaveliftoff   Click Here to Email Wehaveliftoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mr. Damon is one of the most versatile actors out there, meaning 'complex' and 'off beat' is well within his skill level. Suggest watching the movie "The Talented Mr. Ripley" as he can play someone way out there.

jimsz
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posted 04-15-2008 11:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jimsz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would be in the anyone but Matt Damon.

He is good for what he does but certainly has little charisma or nuance to his performances.

I still say Hanks. Age correctness in a film means little if the acting and writing are quality.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-15-2008 12:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While Hanks and crew (no pun intended) did a very commendable job portraying the Apollo 13 astronauts, given that this will (presumably) be a bio-pic rather than a mission-driven story, the actor chosen needs to capture all aspects of Armstrong's life. While I am not saying that Damon or another "name-brand" actor couldn't do that, I wonder if there wouldn't be some merit of hiring outside the usual suspects and getting an unknown to play the part. In that sense, he would also capture the lack of familiarity most movie goers have with the real Armstrong.

You could then use your more bankable stars in supporting roles, such as having Ed Harris reprise his role as Gene Kranz.

I also hope the film will spend time on Armstrong's first mission, Gemini 8, and therefore have an equally strong actor in the role of Dave Scott.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 04-16-2008 04:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree. From the Earth to the Moon contained largely unknown actors who managed to carry off the astronaut resemblances very well. This enhanced the experience. IMO people will largely want to see the film for the man it portrays not for some "A" lister who would detract and probably distort the story. After all this is to be a biographical film, not a tear-jerking, war-winning, history-distorting "epic".

capoetc
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posted 04-16-2008 09:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
However, the purpose of the film will likely be to make money... creating a film for posterity might be nice too, but the producers will likely want some star power to put people in the seats at the theater.

The screenwriter has his work cut out for him, too. I can't imagine filming the movie along the lines of the book -- I would think they might use the storyline of the Apollo 11 mission with flashbacks to cover the biographical parts.

It seems to me that the really hard part will be making it "exciting". Not to say that Neil Armstrong's life so far hasn't been exciting -- it's just that when exciting things happened to him, he handled them in a sober and methodical way. Such as... when the LLTV went berserk and he ejected with one second to spare... no big deal, you eject, gather up the parachute, and then head to the office to do some paperwork. If they try to turn it into some kind of emotional, "Oh my God, I could have been killed" kind of moment, then it won't capture his personality.

Definitely an interesting challenge.

mikelarson
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posted 04-17-2008 05:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikelarson   Click Here to Email mikelarson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree, any movie of this magnitude has to have some star power. It sounds like From Earth to the Moon was a completely different type of production than this is going to be.

It will be interesting to see how the story plays out on the big screen. It's does seem like a tough story to convert to the big screen. But it's been done with others that I didn't think were possible.

Jim
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posted 04-17-2008 04:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim   Click Here to Email Jim     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mikelarson:
On a side note, I haven't yet read the book but I hope Buzz, Mike, and the rest of the team aren't left in the shadows.
I also hope they don't give short shrift to his Gemini VIII flight. From what I understand, many considered GT-8 to be a failure, but if it had gone the full planned mission and Armstrong hadn't gotten to prove his calmness under pressure -- would he have been selected to command Apollo 11?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-23-2009 02:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the front page of collectSPACE:
A biopic based on the 2005 authorized biography of astronaut Neil Armstrong is moving forward, a source tells collectSPACE. Renewing its option to adapt historian James Hansen's biography of the "First Man," Universal Studios has assigned screenwriter Mike Rich ("Finding Forrester", "The Rookie", "Radio") to rework Nicole Perlman's completed screenplay. Producer Wyck Godfrey and his company Temple Hill Productions ("Twilight", "New Moon") were said to now be attached to the film. Hansen has also been named as a co-producer.

Wehaveliftoff
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posted 10-24-2009 02:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Wehaveliftoff   Click Here to Email Wehaveliftoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has James R. Hansen co- or otherwise produced a film before? I notice A LOT of producers for films. Seems Co-Producer is a big job, wonder what capacity his producing job can be...

AJ
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posted 10-26-2009 08:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AJ   Click Here to Email AJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In my limited experience with these things, production jobs can be fairly varied and don't require filmmaking experience. I worked on a low-budget indie film several years ago and had little to do with the actual filming. I sat in an office and called people and asked for money. For that, I was to be given an Associate Producer credit. My guess would be that Hansen will be involved, but in an advisory capacity. I hope the rest of the crew will take advantage of his knowledge.

Steve Procter
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posted 10-27-2009 04:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Procter   Click Here to Email Steve Procter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It seems as the project as come to the forefront again that the speculation as to who will play Neil will start up again.

What about Viggo Mortenson?

Paul23
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posted 10-27-2009 07:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul23   Click Here to Email Paul23     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm thinking he could play John Young or at a push Mike Collins rather than Neil Armstrong.

I still think Matt Damon is the best choice to play Armstrong.

AJ
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posted 10-27-2009 10:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for AJ   Click Here to Email AJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I like a lot of Matt Damon's films and think he's a good actor, but I honestly can't see him as Armstrong. I think he has an earnestness that would be better suited playing a role in MOCR. I generally prefer character actors, because I often feel that big stars never really stop playing a version of themselves. I will say that I really like the idea of getting Ed Harris to reprise his role as Gene Kranz.

kr4mula
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posted 10-27-2009 11:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From my understanding, "Producer" credit can be more or less an honorary title given to someone who may have had an important, but not necessarily active, role in making the film. It might be someone who provided some money, or in Hansen's case, the intellectual assets that made the project possible. This is in addition to the hard-working actual producers who are very active in making the movie.

It's also possible (I am purely speculating here!) that Hansen put a requirement into his licensing agreement that he gets such a credit as a way to make sure his name is visibly associated with a derivative of his work. As a bonus, if a "First Man" movie wins an Oscar for Best Picture, as producer, he would be one of the people who gets to go up on stage to accept!

jdcupp
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posted 10-27-2009 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jdcupp   Click Here to Email jdcupp     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Audie Murphy played himself in "To Hell and Back". Maybe we could coax... Neil... into...

Wehaveliftoff
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posted 10-27-2009 01:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Wehaveliftoff   Click Here to Email Wehaveliftoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bad idea... Mr. Murphy was a fine actor, Neil is not a socialite, not able to act anything but wooden. His speeches are quite frankly in a monotone manner, at best. Most people can not act, markedly, to be fair, I have no ability, as well.

Why go to a movie, if not to be entertained. Of course, if you make a boring film, just to be made, thusly straight to DVD. I doubt it's the studios intention.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-27-2009 02:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To each their own I guess, but the speech -- or rather story -- that Armstrong delivered at his Ambassador of Exploration Award ceremony was both charming and engaging.

And Armstrong will soon have a movie credit to his name...

xlsteve
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posted 10-27-2009 02:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for xlsteve   Click Here to Email xlsteve     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While I don't disagree with the Matt Damon suggestion, I do think that some of the actors who've played parts in other Apollo era projects (Hanks, Harris, Bill Paxton etc.) are now a bit too old and too identified with those roles.

Here are a few names I'd like to throw out there:

Joaquin Phoenix - he's a great actor, and he's played characters similar in temperament to Armstrong. I also think he would be a good fit for Michael Collins. Although he is now reportedly working on a career in hip-hop.

Edward Norton - he has the presence to carry the movie, and is very versatile.

Peter Sarsgaard - you may not recognize the name, but look him up on IMDB. He is more than capable.

Greg Kinnear - his past movies have shown him to have great range, he would be convincing playing Armstrong.

Nicholas Cage - I know what you're thinking. I don't see him playing Armstrong, but I can't help thinking that he might play Buzz pretty well.

Someone mentioned Tony Goldwyn who played Armstrong in From the Earth to the Moon. That's an interesting idea. He is the right age, and I think did a great job in that role.

4allmankind
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posted 10-27-2009 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How about Ethan Hawke?

AJ
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posted 10-27-2009 06:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AJ   Click Here to Email AJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jon Hamm!

alanh_7
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posted 10-27-2009 07:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for alanh_7   Click Here to Email alanh_7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ron Livingston. He has already been through "astronaut" training for the now defunt Defying Gravity.

GoesTo11
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posted 10-28-2009 09:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm far less concerned about what actor portrays Dr. Armstrong than I am about how Hollywood treats his story in general.

"First Man" is a heavily annotated scholarly biography, as opposed to a straightforward narrative of a dramatic sequence of events like "Lost Moon/Apollo 13." Us space geeks know that there's plenty of drama and tension in Armstrong's career exploits, but I have to wonder how well they will translate to the cinema-going public at large, who mainly just want to be entertained for 90 or so minutes.

I don't doubt that those involved with the film have the best of intentions with respect to doing Armstrong's achievements justice onscreen, but anyone who's worked in "the industry," especially a writer, will tell you that the bottom line is the bottom line and consequently sensationalism and "dramatic license" have a way of creeping into the most sincere and idealistic projects.

Not even a story as compelling as Apollo 13, with talent as dedicated and enthusiastic about the source material as Tom Hanks and Ron Howard, was immune.

jaybee
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posted 03-10-2010 02:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jaybee   Click Here to Email jaybee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by xlsteve:
Here are a few names I'd like to throw out there: Joaquin Phoenix, Edward Norton, Peter Sarsgaard, Greg Kinnear, Nicholas Cage
I think Ed Norton, Peter Sarsgaard, and Tony Goldwyn are good choices. I like the way Goldwyn portrayed Armstrong in "From the Earth to the Moon" (FTETTM); it was pretty spot on. After reading First Man (which was published after FTETTM) there were many scenes in that Apollo 11 episode when I found myself thinking, "That's probably how the real Neil would have reacted."

Jay Chladek
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posted 03-10-2010 09:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I look at Neil and I keep thinking of Ron Howard when he was still an actor in his late 20s and early 30s. That is the type of actor I would like to see play Neil as he needs to have a little boyish charm as Neil does show that, even today. He may not be a Dave Scott or a Pete Conrad, but the sense of wonder is still there in things that engage his intelligence. The voice is also important in my mind as Neil doesn't have the booming dramatic voice of a typical actor to sound larger then life. Buzz does, while Mike sounds more like Jimmy Stewart. Neil's voice reminds me of Ron Howard as well.

I am not sure who exactly could do that though. Many of the actors listed here are too old in my mind as Neil's life on the big screen should feature a fair amount of his Korean war and early NACA/NASA testing days.

I have to admit the casting for a lot of the roles in "From the Earth to the Moon" was very well done as I thought Tony Goldwyn's portrayal of Neil Armstrong in those days was pretty well on target. He is a character actor rather then a star, and as such I think the role of the "First Man" needs to be somewhat similar.

JPSastro
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posted 03-10-2010 11:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JPSastro   Click Here to Email JPSastro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With the "liberties" they took with "Apollo 13" maybe we will see depicted a fist fight between Buzz and Neil in the LM over who will step on the surface first! Maybe Neil being bound with duct tape and you know the Hollywood spin on history as done in "13". Just to spice up the storyline and all...

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posted 05-25-2010 01:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Alan Ericson   Click Here to Email Alan Ericson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd like to suggest Jensen Ackles (Dean on Supernatural) for consideration to portray Armstrong. Not that I'm a qualified judge of acting ability, but he seems very talented to me, and I definitely see a resemblance...

Tykeanaut
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posted 04-05-2011 10:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Whatever happened to this proposed film based on James A. Hansen's First Man book?

Editor's note: Threads merged.


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