When First Man premiered at the Venice and Toronto film festivals just a few weeks ago the initial buzz surrounding it immediately heaped praise on pretty much every aspect of Damien Chazelle’s retelling of Neil Armstrong’s mission to the moon, and it was soon labelled an Oscar front-runner.
But while Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy’s performances, Chazelle’s direction, Justin Hurwitz’s score and Tom Cross’ editing were rightfully lauded, one particularly bizarre controversy soon started to engulf the film.
Because, apparently, there weren’t enough American flags in “First Man,” which left some die-hard patriots furious, especially as it doesn’t actually show the American flag actually being planted into the surface of the moon.
As has become the depressing new norm, Donald Trump even waded into the controversy, remarking, “It’s almost like they’re embarrassed at the achievement coming from America.”
I recently had the chance to speak to Cross, who talked me through his reaction to the controversy and revealed the real reason why there aren’t as many Ameican flags as Donald Trump obviously wanted.
“At first I was surprised to hear it. Then I thought to myself, because it was always really important to us to make sure we were honoring the astronauts and these real people.”
“So I thought about it and of course I think the moment people were talking about is a completely iconic moment. It is a great moment in American history and a great moment in human history.”
“I quickly reminded myself that our movie was trying to be a more personal and intimate portrait of Neil Armstrong and his family. When we started on this movie we were always aware of Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 iconography.”
“We were always aware of Neil Armstrong as an icon. I think something that we thought would be special with this movie was to show things that the audience hasn’t seen before.”
“Give them unknown moments to really ponder and think about and experience. I kept on going back to Damien’s initial directive regarding the character and the story. Let’s try to make this as intimate and personal as possible.”
“Let’s focus on moments like what Neil was doing privately at the crater. Where he was off-coms for a certain amount of time and he was just there alone. That we thought from a story-telling point of view was much more interesting. We thought that if we did our job right we could show the audience something that they haven’t seen before.”
“First Man” is released on October 12.