Neil Armstrong's biopic, First Man, had garnered controversy even before it officially showed in theaters because of the absence of the American flag planting scene.
The second man on the moon, 88-year old retired astronaut Buzz Aldrin, recently tweeted a photo of the American flag planted during their landing with the hashtag #proudtobeanAmerican. Additionally, he retweeted a picture of him saluting next to a blown-up version of the same photo.
#proudtobeanAmerican #freedom #honor #onenation #Apollo11 #July1969 #roadtoApollo50 pic.twitter.com/gApIwLzaJw — Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) September 3, 2018
Controversy Surrounding 'First Man'
The decision of Oscar-winning director Damian Chazelle to exclude the flag planting in his movie is obvious. Furthermore, the portrayal of Aldrin in the scene is not pleasing as he is represented as an obnoxious and loud individual.
First Man stars actor Ryan Gosling in the lead role, portraying Neil Armstrong, the first man who stepped on the moon. The film tells the story of how the United States competed with the Soviet Union in the space race and takes its audience to the historic moon landing in 1969. Armstrong died in 2012 at the age of 82.
Ryan Gosling's Stand
Gosling, a Canadian actor, defended Chazelle's decision to omit the scene. At the Venice Film Festival, he said that it was done deliberately because landing on the moon transcends borders and countries. Gosling also stated that they chose to see it as a human achievement.
Furthermore, Gosling added that Armstrong was humble and deflected the focus away from him and to the 400,000 people who helped in making the Apollo mission a big success.
According to the actor, Armstrong constantly reminded everyone that he was just the tip of the iceberg and did not even see himself as an American hero.
However, many people criticized Gosling for defending the film's reflection on the moon landing including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.
This is total lunacy. And a disservice at a time when our people need reminders of what we can achieve when we work together. The American people paid for that mission,on rockets built by Americans,with American technology & carrying American astronauts. It wasn’t a UN mission. https://t.co/eGwBq7hj8C — Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 31, 2018
Notably, the placing of the U.S. flag on the moon became controversial because of debates over whether or not it should be a United Nations flag instead.
However, Armstrong noted that his job was to get the American flag to the moon because the Congress decided that the Apollo 11 mission was the country's project.
"The American people paid for that mission, on rockets built by Americans, with American technology & carrying American astronauts. It wasn't a UN mission," Rubio also tweeted.
The film, based on a biography by James Hansen, is expected to amass Oscar awards. The movie also stars Claire Foy. It premiered at the Venice Film Festival on Wednesday on Aug. 29.