Fresh off one of the more impressive summers this year between his turns in Baby Driver, Shot Caller and Wind River, actor Jon Bernthal has found what may be his next hit — Damien Chazelle’s FIRST MAN, which stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, the Tracking Board has exclusively learned.
Universal Pictures and DreamWorks are co-financing First Man, which is based on the book by James R. Hansen. The film tells the riveting story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong during the years between 1961 and 1969. The movie will explore the sacrifices and the cost — on Armstrong and on the nation — of one of the most dangerous space missions in history.
Claire Foy (The Crown) will co-star as Armstrong’s wife, while Corey Stoll, Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke and Shea Whigham will play Buzz Aldrin, Deke Slayton, Ed White and Gus Grissom, respectively.
Bernthal is in negotiations to play Dave Scott, who walked on the moon in July 1971 as part of Apollo 15, making him one of only a dozen men to have set foot on its surface.
A graduate of West Point and MIT as well as a retired Air Force Colonel, Scott was also a member of NASA’s 1969 Apollo 9 mission, and he went on to co-write the acclaimed Cold War-era space race book “Two Sides of the Moon” with Alexei Leonov.
Written by Oscar-winning Spotlight scribe Josh Singer, First Man will be produced by Temple Hill’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen, as well as the La La Land duo of Chazelle and Gosling. Isaac Klausner will executive produce. Universal’s Sara Scott will oversee the project for the studio, which will release First Man on Oct. 12, 2018.
Besides maybe Gal Gadot, there weren’t many actors who had a better summer than Bernthal, who appeared in three acclaimed films that each have a Rotten Tomatoes score of 80% or higher in Baby Driver (94%), Wind River (86%) and Shot Caller (80%). I mean… Sicario, The Accountant, The Wolf of Wall Street… this guy just knows how to pick projects. He’s got great taste in material, which goes a long way in my book.
Bernthal will soon be seen kicking ass once again as Frank Castle in Netflix’s The Punisher, and he also co-stars in the upcoming indie Sweet Virginia. Bernthal, who has been busy filming The Peanut Butter Falcon with Shia LaBeouf and Dakota Johnson, is represented by WME, The Burstein Company and attorney David Weber.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief