FILM 1919: FIRST MAN
TRIVIA: Neil Armstrong's sons Mark and Eric say First Man is the most accurate portrayals of their father and mother Janet.
Some of the voices heard in the film are actual recordings from the space program. For example, when Apollo 11 lands on the moon, the reply from Houston is the original. It's the voice of astronaut Charles Duke, who had the job of communicating with Apollo 11 during the landing. Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) says "Houston, Tranquility Base here, the Eagle Has Landed", then Charlie Duke says "Roger, Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You've got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot."
Actor Ryan Gosling first discovered Armstrong's love of the theremin during his background research with Armstrong's family and friends. He brought it to Damien Chazelle and Justin Hurwitz's attention, who later chose to include the strange instrument in the score.
Ryan Gosling suffered an injury while filming one of the many shuttle sequences. His partner Eva Mendes told him to go to the hospital after noticing the bizarre behavior of his passionately ranting to her about national doughnut thieves. It was later discovered he had suffered a concussion and Mendes had unknowingly saved his life.
Damien Chazelle was particularly attached to making his film as authentic as possible. This care for detail was maintained, until it came to the reproduction of the space capsules. He and chief designer Nathan Crowley agreed that no ship would be enlarged by more than 10%, even if it sacrificed the comfort of the actors. This also caused complications for framing. The solution was to create a decor that fit in several detachable parts. In fact, the technicians had to break the seats in two to be able to integrate the cameras with the capsule.
Armstrong's famous quote as he stepped on the moon is the subject of historical controversy. The movie quotes accurately what was heard on Earth and in all recordings: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong later revealed that he intended to say "... one small step for [A] man ..." and that he thought he did, but all efforts to extract this from the recording, even with electronics, have been inconclusive.
Pablo Schreiber plays Jim Lovell, another pilot of the Gemini program and Apollo programs, a character that audiences have already met in Apollo 13 (1995) as played by Tom Hanks.
American flag controversy: On August 31, 2018, it was reported that the film would not include a scene of Armstrong and Aldrin planting the American flag on the Moon. Florida Senator Marco Rubio described the omission as "total lunacy". Chazelle responded with a statement, saying: "I show the American flag standing on the lunar surface, but the flag being physically planted into the surface is one of several moments (...) that I chose not to focus upon. To address the question of whether this was a political statement, the answer is no. My goal with this movie was to share with audiences the unseen, unknown aspects of America's mission to the Moon." Following the film's below-expectations opening of $16 million, some analysts speculated that the flag controversy was in part to blame.
Jon Bernthal was cast but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. He was replaced by Christopher Abbott.