Ryan Gosling and Damien Chazelle brought a first look at their new moon landing film to CinemaCon on Wednesday — and they honored the astronauts whose bravery inspired the film.
“It’s hard to imagine the magnitude of risk, the potential for failure, and the improbability of success when a few pioneers decided to leave Earth entirely,” said Gosling during the presentation for First Man at the Las Vegas convention.
The film marks the next endeavor for Oscar-winning La La Land director Chazelle, who said he was glad that the story of the struggles and the failures — and the incredibly risky training missions before the actual flight to the moon — had not been told on the big screen before because he wanted to make a film about it himself.
“What I really wanted to do here is get to know the people who embarked on this unimaginable journey and take audiences with them in a truly immersive big-screen way as they shot towards the heavens and towards those first few steps on the moon,” Chazelle said.
Chazelle, who was joined on stage by Gosling (Neil Armstrong) and Claire Foy (who plays Neil’s wife, Janet Armstrong), introduced footage from the film, which opened on Gosling’s Armstrong rocking his baby daughter to sleep while singing a lullaby. It’s a glimpse into his idyllic home life before he embarks on the dangerous mission that had already claimed the lives of his friends during the training stages. A voiceover says, “As children, we feared the dark. The unknown troubles us, but ironically, it’s our fate to live in the dark.”
Neil’s personal journey to train for the mission sees him going through intense physical exercises to prepare for zero gravity. The footage also features the fear on his face as he’s in the spacecraft as it takes off toward the unknown, as well as his now-legendary steps down the ladder and onto the vast, rocky expanse of the moon.
Foy said the film also will explore the lives of the mission’s “unsung heroes,” including Armstrong’s family as they contend with the real possibility of losing him. “There are definitely risks, but we have every intention of coming back,” Neil tells his young son. “But you might not,” his son replies, to which Neil, after a deep, painful pause, says, “That’s right.”
Universal Pictures’ First Man will be out in theaters on Oct. 12.