Damien Chazelle’s First Man, a movie on NASA’s Apollo 11 mission that put the first man on the moon, is running in theatres. The movie stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong and Claire Foy as his wife Janet Shearon and has received positive critical reception almost universally.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Damien Chazelle was asked if he took Christopher Nolan’s advice while filming First Man. Chazelle said he met Nolan for the first time when the movie was already in post-production. It was the Nathan Crowley link between him and Nolan that interested him. Nathan Crowley is the production designer of First Man. He is also a long-time collaborator with Nolan, and has worked with him in each of his movies from Insomnia (2002) to Dunkirk (2017) with a single exception of Inception.
Chazelle said, “Well, I hadn’t met Chris by the time we shot the movie, but I was really lucky that I got to meet him when I was still in post-production –– actually through IMAX. So, that was my first time to get to ask him stuff, face to face, but again, it was ironically after I had shot the movie. So, we shared behind-the-scenes stories a little bit and war stories. But, working with Nathan Crowley, I really wanted Nathan because of all his work, not just with Nolan.”
He added, “I knew he’d bring the practical approach, the same approach he brings to all of Nolan’s movies. He relies on in-camera effects, miniatures, full-scale replicas, gimbals, motion control and also sets, down to the smallest detail, that feel lived in, that doesn’t feel overly clean, that feel like they’ve got dirt, grime and a real texture to them. Nathan is the best in the world at doing all that stuff, and I was really overjoyed to get him. I certainly spent a lot of time asking him about tricks he had used on movies with Chris like Dunkirk and Interstellar.”
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Nolan has also explored space in Interstellar, albeit by using the technologies like time-travel that do not yet exist. On the other hand, First Man is based on a historical fact of humanity conquering the satellite’s surface. One if science-fiction and the other is just science.
First Man holds an 88% rating at Rotten Tomatoes and the consensus reads, “First Man uses a personal focus to fuel a look back at a pivotal moment in human history – and takes audiences on a soaring dramatic journey along the way.”