First Man: Oscar Winner Damien Chazelle Space Drama, Starring Ryan Gosling, to Open 2018 Venice Film Fest

The space race drama, First Man, directed by Oscar winner Damien (La La Land) Chazelle, will open the 75th Venice Film Fest, on Wednesday, August 29.

This marks the second opening-night Venice bow for Chazelle. His previous film, La La Land, kicked off the fest in 2016 before tying the all-time Oscar nominations record. Chazelle won the Best-Director Oscar, while Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, which premiered at Telluride, won Best Picture.

A Universal release, First Man stars Ryan Gosling as astronaut Neil Armstrong before the Apollo 11 moon-landing mission of 1969.

FIRST MAN – Trailer

Claire Foy (“The Crown”) also stars as Armstrong’s wife, Janet Shearon.

Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke, Corey Stoll, Ciaran Hinds, Christopher Abbott, and Patrick Fugit fill out the rest of the cast.

“The hook was to think of it less as a biopic but as a mission movie, and to think of landing on the moon as this insane, once-in-history mission that I think we have a hard time even fathoming as a society now,” Chazelle had said..
“We take it for granted, I think.  Kids of my generation, you grow up, you know that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, you see the picture, it’s all very gleaming and you see the American flag and you feel proud, and that’s kind of it. You accept that it happened. But the challenge or the hope with this would be to try to play a little bit of a rewind and put you in a mindset where it hasn’t happened yet, and it’s the most insane thing that a group has ever come together to do.”

With the exception of Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing,” which roved to be both an artistic and commercial disappointment, Venice has an excellent track record in choosing opening nights that are Oscar-caliber movies: “Birdman,” “Gravity,” and “Black Swan.”

The 75th annual Venice Film Festival runs August 29–September 8.

Guillermo del Toro, whose Oscar-winning film The Shape of Water premiered in Venice last year, will head the festival jury.