EXCLUSIVE: Eric Ladin (American Sniper), Patrick Fischler (Twin Peaks), Nora Zehetner (Brick), Eloise Mumford (Fifty Shades Freed), Shannon Lucio (Prison Break) and Josh Cooke (Grace and Frankie) are set to co-star in National Geographic’s scripted series The Right Stuff, based on Tom Wolfe’s best-selling nonfiction book.
They join previously cast Patrick J. Adams, Jake McDorman, Joe Dempsie, Aaron Staton, Michael Trotter, Micah Stock and James Lafferty who comprise the famed Mercury Seven astronaut team.
The Right Stuff, from Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and Warner Horizon Scripted Television, takes a look at what would become America’s first “reality show,” as ambitious astronauts and their families become instant celebrities in a competition that either will kill them or make them immortal in the quest to be a part of Project Mercury.
Fischler plays Bob Gilruth, a soft-spoken rocket scientist who is the partner of the more brash Chris Kraft, played by Ladin. They are critical members of NASA’s Space Task group, charged by President Dwight Eisenhower with putting a man into space.
Zehetner portrays Annie Glenn, the wife of John Glenn (Adams), who has known, and loved, her husband since childhood (and they’ve never been apart). Mumford is Trudy Cooper, the wife of Gordo Cooper (Dempsie), a woman of poise and confidence, able to command attention without saying a word. Lucio plays Louise Shepard, the wife of Alan Shepard (McDorman).
Cooke portrays Loudon Wainwright Jr., LIFE Magazine’s star reporter, tasked with writing the biographies of all seven astronauts and has the keenest look at what’s really transpiring.
The first season of The Right Stuff, which uses Wolfe’s book as its jumping-off point, starts at the height of the Cold War. To combat a national sentiment of fear and decline, the U.S. government conceives of NASA’s Project Mercury, igniting a space race with the Soviets and making instant celebrities of a handful of the military’s adrenaline-fueled test pilots. These individuals, who come to be known as the Mercury Seven, are forged into heroes long before they have achieved a single heroic act. At the heart of a historic drama populated by deeply human characters, archrivals Glenn and Shepard jockey to become the first man in space.
Production will begin this fall in Cocoa Beach, FL. for a 2020 premiere globally on National Geographic.
Subsequent seasons of The Right Stuff will carry through to the epochal Apollo Space Program, where humankind saw one of its greatest achievements — man setting foot on the moon — and missions beyond.
DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson are executive producers, along with Mark Lafferty, who will serve as showrunner. Will Staples also is an executive producer. Michael Hampton shepherded this project on behalf of Appian Way.
Ladin is repped by Innovative Artists and Main Title. Fischler is repped by Main Title and McKuin Frankel. Zehetner is repped by APA and Inspire Entertainment. Mumford is repped by Paradigm and Anonymous Content Media. Lucio is repped by Mosaic and Jackoway Tyerman. Cooke is repped by TalentWorks, LINK Entertainment and Hansen Jacobson.