Whiplash Helmer Damien Chazelle Circling Neil Armstrong Biopic First Man

Hot off the awards trail for his indie gem, Whiplash, director Damien Chazelle is in discussions to direct Neil Armstrong biopic, First Man.

Set up over at Universal, should he take the gig this will mark Chazelle’s first step into studio features. Bear in mind, the film is still early in development at this stage. After festering away for close to a decade – the flick was at one point set to go over at Warner Bros. with Clint Eastwood attached – it looks like there’s finally movement on the drama biopic.

In addition to Chazelle, The Fifth Estate writer Josh Singer – who’s currently at work on Catholic church expose, Spotlight – is being eyed up to pen the script. He’ll base his screenplay on the narrative non-fiction bestseller, First Man: A Life Of Neil Armstrong by James Hansen.

Whether or not Chazelle’s bright, shiny star would want to trade the indie waters for a studio deal is something to consider. The next project on his slate will see the director reunited with Whiplash star Miles Teller for musical La La Land, also starring Emma Watson.

First Man sounds like a solid feature, and an offer you’d think Chazelle would be quick to snap up. We can only suppose at this stage that he might want to test the waters following the widespread October release of Whiplash, to gauge the quality of additional offers that’ll no doubt roll in.

Take a look at the synopsis of First Man below. Looks like a surefire shoo-in for awards season, doesn’t it?

When Apollo 11 touched down on the moon’s surface in 1969, the first man on the moon became a legend. In First Man, Hansen explores the life of Neil Armstrong. Based on over fifty hours of interviews with the intensely private Armstrong, who also gave Hansen exclusive access to private documents and family sources, this “magnificent panorama of the second half of the American twentieth century” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) is an unparalleled biography of an American icon.

Upon his return to earth, Armstrong was honored and celebrated for his monumental achievement. He was also—as James R. Hansen reveals in this fascinating and important biography—misunderstood. Armstrong’s accomplishments as engineer, test pilot, and astronaut have long been a matter of record, but Hansen’s unprecedented access to private documents and unpublished sources and his interviews with more than 125 subjects (including more than fifty hours with Armstrong himself) yield this first in-depth analysis of an elusive American celebrity still renowned the world over.