- Buzz Aldrin waded into the controversy surrounding the new Neil Armstrong biopic “First Man.”
- Conservative outcry built up over the weekend when it was revealed that there was no scene in the movie showing Armstrong, played by Ryan Gosling, planting an American flag on the moon.
- On Sunday, Aldrin tweeted two pictures of that moment, along with the hashtags #proudtobeanAmerican #freedom #honour #onenation #Apollo11 #July1969 #roadtoApollo50.
Buzz Aldrin appears to have weighed in on the recent controversy surrounding the new Neil Armstrong biopic, “First Man.”
The film received backlash over the weekend after it was revealed that there wasn’t a scene showing Armstrong, played by Ryan Gosling, planting an American flag on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission.
Among the critics of the film is Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who called the choice “total lunacy.”
Aldrin, who was with Armstrong on the mission and was the second man to step on the moon, waded into the debate on Sunday.
The 88-year-old posted two pictures on Twitter of the moment the flag was planted on the lunar surface, along with this message: “#proudtobeanAmerican #freedom #honour #onenation #Apollo11 #July1969 #roadtoApollo50.”
It’s unclear if Aldrin’s message was a criticism of the film. Business Insider reached out to Aldrin for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.
When questioned about the moment’s omission from the film at the Venice Film Festival last week, Gosling said Armstrong never really “viewed himself as an American hero.”
“From my interviews with his family and people that knew him, it was quite the opposite. And we wanted the film to reflect Neil,” Gosling said.
— Dr. Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) September 3, 2018
Director Damien Chazelle said he did not mean to make a political statement by leaving the flag-planting moment out of the movie, and pointed out that other scenes show the flag on the lunar surface.
In a statement to the AP, Chazelle said the movie was meant to show exactly what Armstrong was going through emotionally when he set foot on the moon, not to offer a replay of the events most people have already seen.
“The flag being physically planted into the surface is one of several moments of the Apollo 11 lunar EVA that I chose not to focus upon,” Chazelle said. “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 – particularly Neil Armstrong’s personal saga and what he may have been thinking and feeling during those famous few hours.”
While many conservative critics tore the movie apart on Twitter, Armstrong’s sons, Rick and Mark, defended Chazelle in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter with author James R. Hansen, whose Armstrong biography offered the basis of the script. The three wrote:
“Although Neil didn’t see himself that way, he was an American hero. He was also an engineer and a pilot, a father and a friend, a man who suffered privately through great tragedies with incredible grace. This is why, though there are numerous shots of the American flag on the moon, the filmmakers chose to focus on Neil looking back at the earth, his walk to Little West Crater, his unique, personal experience of completing this journey, a journey that has seen so many incredible highs and devastating lows. In short, we do not feel this movie is anti-American in the slightest. Quite the opposite.”
“First Man” comes out in theatres on October 12.