The first trailer for La La Land director Damien Chazelle’s upcoming biopic First Man has touched down. The film will follow the life of astronaut Neil Armstrong as he prepares to become the first human to step on the moon.
The film is based on Armstrong’s authorized biography, First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong, written by James R. Hansen. While that book was a comprehensive look at the late astronaut’s life, the film will cover a smaller snippet: the years between 1961 and 1969, as the space race shifted in to full swing.
Accordingly, this trailer is intense, opening with Gosling’s Armstrong gazing at a Saturn V rocket as it lifts off, and Kyle Chandler (who plays NASA’s Chief of the Astronaut Office Deke Slayton) saying that the job that they have ahead of them is so difficult, that they’re going to have to start from scratch.
From there, there’s glimpses of some of the milestones for which Armstrong would be known for: piloting the X-15 to the edge of space, barely escaping with his life when he ejected from a Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV), saving the Gemini 8 mission when a stuck thruster sent the spacecraft into an uncontrollable spin, and of course, the mission he’s most famed for, landing on the moon in 1969. The film hints at some of the other challenges that NASA faced, such as the disastrous loss of the Apollo 1 crew in 1967. There are also hints at the human cost of the program: reporters ask Armstrong if the risk of spaceflight is worth it, and teases the cost of the mission on his marriage and his children.
While spaceflight is a relatively common trope in theaters, First Man joins a small grouping of films that depict the real history of spaceflight — Ron Howard’s 1995 film Apollo 13, Philip Kaufman’s 1983 film The Right Stuff, Theodore Melfi’s 2016 film Hidden Figures, and HBO’s 1998 miniseries, From The Earth to the Moon. Based on this trailer, it looks as though it’ll be just as tense and exciting as any Hollywood science fiction blockbuster.
First Man hits theaters on October 12th, 2018.