Universal Pictures released the first trailer for First Man, featuring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong in Damien Chazelle’s upcoming biopic. The movie is being touted more as an adventure picture than a run-of-the-mill biopic, one that will utilize stunning IMAX cameras to bring some of the more thrilling aspects of this American hero to life.
First Man is the riveting story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961-1969. Check out the first stunning trailer before we discuss just why this movie is a must-see in IMAX:
The trailer teases the visceral first-person account of one of the most significant moments in American history, one that the IMAX presentation suggest must truly be experienced. Chazelle is an incredibly talented filmmaker, one with natural inclinations as to what pops on a screen. Here he’s reunited with his Oscar-winning La La Land cinematographer Linus Sandgren in order to bring the majesty, danger, and thrilling account of Armstrong’s tenure during those pivotal years at NASA
Why You Should See It In IMAX
First Man debuted its first footage to theater owners at CinemaCon in April, during which time Chazelle promised exhibitors that audiences would not only be taken on an “immersive journey,” going with Armstrong and his crew as they took their first steps on the moon, but to give a look at Neil and Janet’s difficult marriage. Josh Singer—Oscar-winning co-writer of Spotlight—promises the film is not a traditional biopic but a visceral mission movie with tons of action, and this trailer teases just why that visceral action should be considered for an IMAX presentation.
Chazelle’s La La Land followup is working with the cameras to stage some unique and incredible true-to-life sequences. Considering the subject matter, the sequences that feature space flight will be reserved for the IMAX format. Just taking a look at some of the space vistas, the format would do wonders to give you that awe-inspiring yet incredibly dangerous feeling of space travel.
The movie isn’t just going to extrapolate space as a means to enthrall and entertain but the true-life story of Armstong’s family life, something that both Gosling and Foy bring to life. “Ryan and I described the movie to each other as it’s about the moon and the kitchen,” Chazelle told PEOPLE, “which means basically we wanted to tell the story about one of the most epic accomplishments in human history, but root it very much in the intimate and the day to day details of what it was actually like. What did it feel like to be Neil or Janet at that moment in time and going through these truly superhuman kind of events.”
“Neil was not a showy person,” Chazelle said. “A lot of the other astronauts and pilots of that era were what you expect, the outgoing, hotshot types, but Neil was very different. He was the brainier, quieter, more introverted person and he’s a man of few words who did the job and got it done. I see a little bit of Ryan in that as well and I think Ryan was able to capture it beautifully.” It also looks like he is put through the ringer, enduring the incredible amount of training in order for a human body to survive the zero gravity and intense G-Force when strapped to a rocket to the moon. Even finding himself nearly being blown up (several times).
And, of course, there is the moon landing itself. IMAX cameras have brought us here before, often times in priceless documentaries that explore the cosmos and our history of space travel. These presentations were probably not viewed outside of Science Centers capable of short IMAX dome screenings (the kind of stuff you would visit in grade school). Here, Chazelle will bring that first walk to life, and put you right there. By the looks of it, they will utilize a POV perspective (you are Armstrong).
First Man will prove to be a key film this award season, one that will probably start with festival circuits and high-profile world premieres before being unveiled to audiences nation-wide. The film’s use of IMAX cameras reiterates its director’s passion for paying tribute to the past but looking forward, creating a modern film using state-of-the-art technology to bring a truly unique and entertaining experience back to the big screen.
First Man had been in development over at Warner Bros. since 2003 when Clint Eastwood was eyeing to direct the Neil Armstong biopic based on the biography First Man: The Life Of Neil A. Armstrong written by James R. Hansen. Later, Universal bought the rights to make the film and it was back in November of 2015 that Ryan Gosling was cast to play the titular role, while Damien Chazelle would come aboard as director from a script by Josh Singer and Nicole Perlman. Chazelle hadn’t even become the youngest person to win the Best Director Oscar at the Academy Awards but his talent after both Whiplash and La La Land were enough for Universal to catapult the guy into the forefront of prestige pictures.
In May 2017, it was revealed that Claire Foy – who also has The Girl In The Spider’s Web opening in the fall – plays Janet Shearon, Armstrong’s first wife. Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll, and Jason Clarke joined the cast later that June. By July and August, Shea Whigham and Jon Bernthal had signed on with Brian d’Arcy James along for the ride, as well. If that cast weren’t impressive enough, come October, Pablo Schreiber, Patrick Fugit, Cory Michael Smith, and Skyler Bible had all signed on to First Man as well.
With Principal Production commencing in Atlanta, Georgia in late October 2017, Chazelle and his incredible cast set out to bring the thrilling life of Neil Armstrong to the big screen. And they do mean BIG. Select scenes were filmed using IMAX 70MM Cameras.
IMAX cameras have the ability to expand the aspect ratio to an incredible degree, giving moviegoers a little more bang for their buck. IMAX is becoming more common as a running list of filmmakers like Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049), Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok), and Ryan Coogler (Black Panther) have all opted to expand their vision using IMAX cameras.
70 mm IMAX cameras are a horizontal variant to the traditional 35 mm or more commonly used digital (which doesn’t require physical matteing) with an even bigger picture area. If you had the chance to see Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk in IMAX you may have noticed those IMAX sequences were a lot more expansive vertically than the digitally shot IMAX sequences in Marvel Studios‘ Avengers: Infinity War, directed by the Russo Brothers, which became the very first movie to be entirely shot with IMAX digital cameras. First Man will have a look similar to Dunkirk, something that is even more apparent by the film’s grainy, film-like quality because…well, it was shot on film!
The poster for the film also highlights the “experience” part of the IMAX presentation. Universal is already hard at work to make sure people know this is the kind of movie you need to get out to the big screen to see, something that will truly impress.
First Man is set to land in theaters October 12, just in time for Oscars season.
Images: Universal, IMAX