by Graham Pierrepoint
There seems to have been a movie made about just about every major event in history over the past millennium – though there are a scarce few which are yet to make their way to the big screen. One such story, regarding the Apollo 11 landings on the Moon in 1969, is making its way to theaters next month – and with critic viewings already reportedly being positive, with star Ryan Gosling leading the way as the legendary Neil Armstrong. Armstrong and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin were the first two men to over set foot on the satellite – and it seems that recent tweets from the latter may point towards his feelings on a certain debate surrounding ‘First Man’ – and it may not be a controversy you were expecting.
Director Damien Chazelle, who previously oversaw Gosling in the critically-lauded La La Land, appears to have omitted Aldrin and Armstrong planting the American flag on the Moon’s surface when they initially landed – a pivotal and historical moment which, for some, appears just too iconic to avoid including. There have been a number of claims made with regard to the movie being ‘anti-American’ as a result – voices among them including the likes of US senator Marco Rubio, who recently tweeted to state that omission of the flag-planting was ‘total lunacy’. “The American people paid for that mission on rockets built by Americans, with American technology & carrying American astronauts. It wasn’t a UN mission,” he tweeted.
▶ New Neil Armstrong Biopic 'First Man' Omits Planting American Flag on the Moon
Returning to Aldrin, however, the astronaut chose to republish photos of his and Armstrong’s famous landing and planting alongside the hashtag ‘proudtobeanAmerican’ – which could point to where the legendary engineer stands on such issues. Armstrong’s actor, Gosling, thinks otherwise with regard to the debate. The Canadian actor defended such decisions not to show the flag-planting openly at the recent Venice Film Festival. “I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement,” he noted. “That’s how we chose to view it – I also think Neil was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts, and time and time again he deferred the focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the mission possible.”
Armstrong’s sons, Rick and Mark Armstrong, have too defended the movie. Stating that it ‘celebrates and achievement for all mankind’ – and that it is not ‘anti-American’. The debate rages on – before the film’s released!
▶ Damien Chazelle Defends 'First Man'