Canadian actor Ryan Gosling is defending director Damien Chazelle’s decision to omit the American flag from from the 1969 moon landing in his new biographical film “First Man,” saying the historic NASA mission “transcended countries and borders.”
Critics first noticed the absence of Old Glory during the film’s premiere Tuesday at the Venice Film Festival. Mr. Gosling, who plays former astronaut Neil Armstrong in the film, argued that the iconic moon walk was not alone a U.S. accomplishment.
“I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement [and] that’s how we chose to view it,” he told The Telegraph. “I also think Neil was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts, and time and time again he deferred the focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the mission possible.
“He was reminding everyone that he was just the tip of the iceberg — and that’s not just to be humble, that’s also true,” Mr. Gosling added. “So I don’t think that Neil 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.”
He joked, “I’m Canadian, so [I] might have cognitive bias.”
“First Man,” based on the authorized biography by James Hansen, has been endorsed by Armstrong’s family, including his two sons, The Telegraph reported.
Armstrong, who died in 2012 at age 82, was the first man to walk on the moon, preceding Buzz Aldrin by nine minutes. He famously planted the U.S. flag on the moon’s surface shortly after declaring, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”