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Over the course of a career that began as a Mouseketeer, Ryan Gosling has been to a great many places on screen, but for a new film, he’s getting ready to head somewhere he’s never been, where most people have never been, the Moon. Yes, that the Moon. He is orbiting the role of Neil Armstrong, the first human to ever walk on the lunar surface (or not, if you’re a conspiracy minded sort), in a project called First Man.
Universal is developing the Neil Armstrong biopic with director Damien Chazelle, who burst onto the scene last year with the scorching indie drama Whiplash, and Deadline reports that they want the Drive and The Notebook star for the lead. If this happens, it will mark two projects back to back, or at least very close together, for the duo. Chazelle and Gosling are currently working on La La Land together, a musical that sees Gosling play a jazz pianist who falls in love with Emma Stone’s fledgling actress. These definitely sound like two very, very different projects.
The Neil Armstrong movie is still in the early stages, but it sounds like Universal is working hard to develop the property. First Man is based on First Man: A Life of Neil A. Armstrong, James Hansen’s biography of the famous astronaut, and Josh Singer, who penned the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal movie Spotlight, is working to adapt the book for the screen. The 50th anniversary of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission is rapidly approaching, so perhaps the film is intended to coincide with that, though that seems like pretty far off in the distance to have everyone locked in place, but we’ll see.
Last year, Damien Chazelle took the world by storm with Whiplash, which was a hit at Sundance and ultimately walked away with three Academy Awards, including best editing and best supporting actor for J.K. Simmons. He stepped into the director role on First Man, a project that was originally set up at Warner Bros., and that had Clint Eastwood in line to take the helm. Those are certainly some big shoes to fill, but he’s got talent to spare.
Though he took a bit of a break from acting to work on his own directorial project, the 2014 dark fantasy Lost River, Ryan Gosling didn’t stay behind the camera for too long. In addition to La La Land, we’ll see him later this year in the banking world drama The Big Short, which has a cast that also features Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Steve Carell, and more, which could be an award season player. He also has both an untitled Terrence Malick project in the works, as well as Blade Runner 2, which people are certainly quite curious about.