Damien Chazelle and Neil Armstrong's sons have defended accusations that new movie 'First Man' is anti-American.

Damien Chazelle

Damien Chazelle

Ryan Gosling portrays late astronaut Armstrong in the drama, which retells NASA's mission to land a man on the moon for the first time, and the movie has been under fire after Gosling said Armstrong's moonwalk "was widely regarded not as an American, but as a human achievement".

However, both director Chazelle and Armstrong's sons, Rick and Mark have insisted that the decision not to include a flag-planting scene on the moon was not an anti-American message.

Chazelle said: "In 'First Man' I show the American flag standing on the lunar surface, but 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.

"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. I wanted the primary focus in that scene to be on Neil's solitary moments on the moon -- his point of view as he first exited the LEM, his time spent at Little West Crater, the memories that may have crossed his mind during his lunar EVA. This was a feat beyond imagination; it was truly a giant leap for mankind. This film is about one of the most extraordinary accomplishments not only in American history, but in human history. My hope is that by digging under the surface and humanizing the icon, we can better understand just how difficult, audacious and heroic this moment really was."

Rick and Mark said in a statement: "This story is human and it is universal. Of course, it celebrates an America achievement. It also celebrates an achievement 'for all mankind,' as it says on the plaque Neil and Buzz left on the moon. It is a story about an ordinary man who makes profound sacrifices and suffers through intense loss in order to achieve the impossible.

"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. But don't take our word for it. We'd encourage everyone to go see this remarkable film and see for themselves."


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