Neil Armstrong Biopic Lands at Universal

April 2, 2008
Source: Variety

Neil Armstrong Biopic

I have a extra special appreciation for our country's space program of the 60s and 70s. Ron Howard's Apollo 13 and October Sky are two of my personal favorite movies. There's just some magic about seeing our country achieve something as phenomenal as landing on the moon. Universal has just acquired the right to James R. Hansen's non-fiction book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong and will be adapting it into a feature film about Armstrong - the first person to set foot on the moon. I'm not exactly sure where this project is heading, be it a very low budget indie or something more grand, but I can tell you I'm already looking forward to it.

NASA historian James R. Hansen got rare direct access to Armstrong, a test pilot-turned-astronaut who was so driven to reach the moon and play the role of American hero that he became known as "the Ice Commander." Screenwriter Nicole Perlman recalls: "The closer he got to the moon, the further away he became from his family. He had a family tragedy before Apollo that turned him into this driven astronaut, and he became such a perfect hero that while Buzz Aldrin was announced to be the first man on the moon, NASA reversed its decision because Neil was regarded as more heroic."

Armstrong returned from the moon as one of the most famous men on Earth but didn't capitalize on it with a political career or endorsements. He reconnected with his family, shut out the world and became an intensely private man. You can pick up a copy of the book on

New up-and-coming screenwriter Nicole Perlman has a nack for adapting biographies. In addition to tackling a script about the Wright brothers based on the book "One Day at Kitty Hawk", she is also writing a script called Kiss and Tango and Challenger, the latter of which is based on Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman's investigation into the 1986 Space Shuttle tragedy. Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, who is also involved in the Gears of War movie, will produce.

Does this sound like an interesting project to anyone else or am I alone here? As long as the production side of this goes in the right direction, we might have another solid biopic in the works. At least another good non-fiction Space Race movie to look forward to.

First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong

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Reader Feedback - 4 Comments


Sounds like a good idea. I love The Right Stuff and Apollo 13, and In the Shadow of the Moon was a great documentary, so space exploration is always a subject I enjoy. But when you factor in Armstrong's strained relationship with the media and his reluctance to be seen in public aside from speaking engagements, you might have a new spin on the subject. After all, he's a man who's been defined by one small moment in his life, but a moment that will always overshadow everything else that he did before or since. Therefore his life story brought to the screen should at least be interesting. But if it's filmed by someone really talented, it might be exceptional. I just hope it isn't too conservative or reverential. Armstrong's achievements should be respected, but his story is quite a dark one, too.

Ricky Roma on Apr 2, 2008


SOunds cool. I perfer Capricorn one as a good Movies

REAL6 on Apr 2, 2008


"It's the best walk I've had since walking on the Moon." Will they show how he turned into a bitter old man who shills dodgy exercise equipment on TV and refuses to sign autographs and didn't appear in In the Shadow of the Moon? Git.

avoidz on Apr 3, 2008


Good points made avoidz - why did he not appear in Shadow of the Moon? I'm still on the wall as to whether they really went I'm afraid - at a time when the USA needed to boost public moral and win the space race against Russia, it just seems to perfect to suddenly succeed given they weren't the first to put a man in space.

nha on Apr 3, 2008

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