In 1983, the film The Right Stuff showed America how its first astronauts took us to the stars. Now Disney+ and National Geographic are returning to the story of the Mercury program, with an extended adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s best-selling book. And the show’s explosive first trailer is a reminder of just how dangerous going to space really was—both on the ground and in the air.
Disney’s upcoming eight-episode series The Right Stuff, from Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Appian Way and Warner Bros. Television, starts “at the height of the Cold War in 1959.” Fearful of falling behind the Soviet Union in the space race, the U.S. government tasked the newly-formed NASA with sending a man up in only two years. The show will focus on the intense work that went into the program from start to finish. From the series’ official synopsis:
“NASA engineers, including rocket scientist Bob Gilruth (Patrick Fischler) and the passionate Chris Kraft (Eric Ladin), work against the clock under mounting pressure from Washington. Together, they hand select seven astronauts from a pool of military test pilots. These are ordinary men, plucked from obscurity, and within days of being presented to the world, they are forged into heroes before they achieve a single heroic act.”
The series will also look at the two central figures involved. They were Major John Glenn (Patrick J. Adams), “a revered Marine test pilot and committed family man,” and Lieutenant Commander Alan Shepard (Jake McDorman), “one of the best test pilots in Navy history.
The other Mercury 7 crew members include Captain Gordo Cooper (Colin O’Donoghue), “the youngest of the seven selected to everyone’s surprise”; Wally Schirra (Aaron Staton), “a competitive pilot with a gift for pulling pranks”; Scott Carpenter (James Lafferty), “dubbed ‘The Poet’ by the other astronauts”; Deke Slayton (Micah Stock), “a taciturn but incredibly intelligent pilot and engineer”; and Gus Grissom (Michael Trotter), “a decorated military veteran who eventually becomes the second man in space.”
The series will also focus on their families. Nora Zehetner plays Annie Glenn, while Shannon Lucio stars as Louise Shepard and Eloise Mumford plays as Trudy Cooper. Mark Lafferty (Castle Rock, Halt and Catch Fire) serves as showrunner and as an executive producer. DiCaprio is also an executive producer on the series.
The first two episodes premiere premiere on Disney+ on Friday, October 9. Unless there’s a malfunction. But we’re not worried. Watching astronauts go to space from home is a lot easier than sending them there.
Featured Image: Disney+
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