Published 9:32 p.m. UTC Sep 3, 2018
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin has waded into the flag flap surrounding "First Man," Damien Chazelle's new drama about the moon landing.
The Neil Armstrong biopic, starring Ryan Gosling as the first man to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission, was unveiled last week at Venice Film Festival to stellar reviews. But conservative commentators slammed the filmmaker's decision to skip a shot of Armstrong planting the American flag. (Critics who've seen the film say the flag is shown flying in it.)
Aldrin, the second person to step out on the moon, took his jab Sunday on Twitter. "#proudtobeanamerican," he tweeted, along with images of the flag planting.
Gosling got the conversation going at a news conference in Venice, where he told journalists that Armstrong was "extremely humble" and "didn't consider himself a hero," saying the milestones of the mission "transcend countries and borders.”
Unsurprisingly, uproar ensued on Twitter, with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio calling the movie "total lunacy" and "a disservice."
Departing Fox News correspondent Adam Housley expressed disbelief at the omission.
Weekly Standard editor at large Bill Kristol called it a "foolish and pernicious falsification of history."
Chazelle pointed to the film as Armstrong's story. “To address the question of whether this was a political statement, the answer is no," he told the Associated Press. "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.”
Armstrong died in 2012. His sons, Rick Armstrong and Mark Armstrong, took issue with the characterization of the film as anti-American, issuing a joint statement on Friday with author James R. Hansen, who wrote the book the movie is based on.
“This story is human and it is universal. Of course, it celebrates an America achievement. It also celebrates an achievement ‘for all mankind,’ ” the statement said. "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.”
The movie, already being touted as an Oscar contender, arrives in theaters Oct. 12. Chazelle's last film, "La La Land," won six Academy Awards and was erroneously awarded best picture during the epic Oscar flub known as Envelopegate.
Contributing: The Associated Press