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After partnering together on this month’s La La Land, director Damian Chazelle and actor Ryan Gosling seem keen to work together again. Well, it looks like a project they’ve had brewing since last year has come to fruition, as the pair are continuing their hot streak with a biopic. Of course, for Chazelle and Gosling, no ordinary biopic would do, and they have their sights set on a pretty big story to tell: the life and times of Neil Armstrong.

In particular, Variety is reporting that the film will focus on the years of 1961 and 1969, the time in which Armstrong was most active with NASA’s efforts to get to the moon. The script will be based off of the book First Man: A Life Of Neil A. Armstrong, which was originally written by James Hansen and adapted for the screen by Spotlight screenwriter Josh Singer. Reports indicate that the project is set up at Universal, and the film should be ready for production as soon as “early 2017.” Should this be true, it’s a fine example of doubling down on success.

What’s probably the most interesting part about First Man’s adaptation is the fact that it would be the third film overall, and the first non-fiction film, for Damian Chazelle’s directing career. His previous films, Whiplash and La La Land have both been excellent explorations into the world of music, but the world of space, science and good old American perseverance is mostly new territory for Chazelle. We say mostly, because the themes of persistence and goal focus are something that the writer/director is pretty good at. So if this is any indication, his signing onto this project means that this story will more than likely be a tense pot-boiler about Armstrong’s part to get America to the moon.

Another first for Damian Chazelle would also be the fact that First Man would be the first film that Chazelle would direct from a script written by someone other than himself. That said, the pedigree of Josh Singer’s pen and Ryan Gosling’s leading man chops being mixed in with his directorial skills sound like a hell of a combination. And as far as Gosling is concerned, 2017 will also see him starring in Terrence Malick’s Weightless and Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 in the same year. Should First Man be given the go for launch as planned, there’s a chance that late 2017 could be when the film is released, just in time for the 2017 awards race.

First Man doesn’t have an official release date, and may not use that title in the end, but as soon as we have any other information, we’ll update you. In the meantime, you can see Damian Chazelle and Ryan Gosling work their magic together with La La Land, which is in theaters now (and you can check out the trailer above).

December 29, 2016

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