We're counting down the days until Neil Armstrong biopic First Man launches into Cineworld on 12th October. It's adapted from First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong, the official biography of the titular astronaut written by James R. Hansen, and chronicles the American icon's role in the famous 1969 Apollo 11 mission.
As you know, that fateful expedition saw Armstrong become the first man to set foot on our celestial neighbour, the moon. First Man has already made huge waves at Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, having received near-universal praise from critics. Here are five reasons why the movie is set to be out of this world…
1. Damien Chazelle is directing
Damien Chazelle may only have four feature films to his name, but each has consistently hit the mark. His debut was the lesser-known musical romance Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, before he went on to enjoy even greater success in the genre with his next two movies.
The relentlessly tense drumming drama Whiplash won an Oscar for actor J.K. Simmons as a tyrannical music teacher, and then there was the sensational La La Land starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Notoriously, that movie lost out on Best Picture due to the mix-up with Moonlight, although Chazelle did walk away with Best Director.
Intriguingly, First Man sees Chazelle branch out beyond the realm of the musical for the first time. While this is a different style of film for him, taking an intimate, sombre look at the emotional pressures weighing on Neil Armstrong, let's not forget that drama has always been at the centre of his works, whether it's the destructive relationship and drive for perfection in Whiplash, or the struggles that come with pursuing your dreams in La La Land.
2. It stars Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy
There are a lot of stars in outer space, but few shine as brightly as those featuring in First Man: Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy, who, according to movie website Collider, could already be in the running for Oscars.
Gosling in particular has shown himself to be one of the most dynamic and talented actors working today. From his performances as the heartthrob in The Notebook and his stints in arthouse films Drive and Only God Forgives to his recent performances in La La Land (again collaborating with Chazelle) and sci-fi epic Blade Runner 2049, this two-time Oscar-nominated actor is only getting better. As someone who's known for fully committing himself to roles, we can't wait to see him in action as Neil Armstrong.
Claire Foy, who plays Armstrong's wife Janet, has racked up several critically acclaimed performances. Having won a Golden Globe for her performance as Elizabeth II in Netflix sensation The Crown, Foy has also started to make waves on the big screen in recent years with recent films Breathe and Unsane. And later this year, she stars as hacker Lisbeth Salander in gritty crime-thriller The Girl in the Spider's Web.
3. It's written by Josh Singer
It takes a seriously talented writer to do justice to the remarkable true story of the moon landing. Luckily for us, First Man is written by Oscar-winning screenwriter Josh Singer, whose credentials are seriously impressive.
Beginning his career as a writer on shows such as The West Wing, Law and Order and Lie to Me, Singer is best known for writing the screenplays for Spotlight (which won him an Oscar, alongside co-writer and director Tom McCarthy), and The Post. Both these pictures are biopics that blend carefully researched facts with a compelling sense of dramatic impetus, which surely puts First Man right in Singer's wheelhouse.
4. Justin Hurwitz is composing the score
With Damien Chazelle directing and Gosling and Foy giving potentially Oscar-worthy performances, First Man is already bursting at the seams with talent. It's also going to be treat for our ears as its music is written by Justin Hurwitz, a long-time collaborator of Chazelle's.
Hurwitz won an Oscar for the tender and beautiful La La Land score, integrating the melodies from Pasek and Paul's infectious songs and weaving a symphony of heartache. He also wrote the score for Whiplash, navigating around a series of ferociously energetic jazz staples including the title number.
But like all great artists, he's capable of switching genres with ease, with First Man ditching up-tempo swing for more atmospheric sounds and electronics akin to Hans Zimmer's Interstellar score. Having Hurwitz scoring the drama is sure to make it even more compelling.
5. Steven Spielberg is an executive producer
There's one more reason why First Man seems to have that magic touch, and that's because Steven Spielberg acts as executive producer. One of the most celebrated filmmakers of all time, Spielberg knows how to give films that all-too-important spark of magic to capture audiences' hearts.
While First Man is still very much Chazelle's film, having Spielberg at hand must have been invaluable during production. Not only does he know how to tell emotionally-charged stories, but, as his recent film Ready Player One demonstrates, he also knows how to make the most out of each frame to make a film as visually eye-catching as possible.
Andy Murray is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.