EXCLUSIVE: Universal’s Neil Armstrong biopic First Man is still being written and still being developed, but I’m hearing that Ryan Gosling is being courted to play the famed astronaut for Whiplash helmer Damien Chazelle, who is directing a script by Spotlight scribe Josh Singer.
There is a natural symmetry here, as Chazelle and Gosling are currently together making La La Land, the musical film set in contemporary Los Angeles and starring Gosling as a jazz pianist and Emma Stone as the aspiring actress he falls in love with. That Lionsgate/Summit pic has already set a July 15, 2016 release date.
First Man is based on James Hansen’s biography First Man: A Life Of Neil A. Armstrong and the astronaut’s historical 1969 mission on Apollo 11 is approaching its 50-year anniversary. Chazelle boarded the pic in the spring after it had originated at Warner Bros with Clint Eastwood planning to direct in produce. Temple Hill partners Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen are producing now.
Gosling is up next in Adam McKay’s The Big Short, the adaptation of the Michael Lewis book from Paramount Pictures, New Regency and Plan B Entertainment. Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Brad Pitt, Marisa Tomei and Melissa Leo star in the story about the genius contrarian investors who, recognizing just how insane the housing bubble had become, figured out how to “short” the market prior to the financial collapse of 2008. It world premiered this month at AFI Fest and opens December 11.