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Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling’s Space Epic ‘First Man’ Dazzles at CinemaCon

Damien Chazelle may need to make more room on his mantlepiece for a second Oscar based on the reaction to the trailer debut of “First Man” at CinemaCon on Wednesday.

The “La La Land” auteur took the stage in Caesars Palace promising theater owners that he intended to take audiences on an “immersive journey” while dramatizing the story of Neil Armstrong’s mission to the moon. The goal is to bring moviegoers along with Armstrong and the crew of Appllo 11 “as they shot through the heavens and took those first few steps on the moon,” he said.

Ryan Gosling, who previously partnered with Chazelle on “La La Land,” plays Armstrong and “The Crown’s” Claire Foy takes on the role of his wife, Janet Shearon. Their’s is a difficult marriage. The film won’t just focus on the space race, it will also dramatize the toll that these dangerous missions take on their loved ones back on Earth.

One particularly stirring scene finds Armstrong answering his worried children’s questions about whether or not he will make it back home after his lunar travels are over. He tries to deflect by noting that his team has confidence in their planning, before ultimately acknowledging that he could die. It’s an insular performance, one that could put Gosling in the awards hunt. Foy also may factor into consideration with her portrait of a woman struggling to hold her family together while her husband makes his one giant leap for mankind.

“First Man” bows Oct. 12. The footage debuted as part of Universal Studio’s presentation to exhibitors about its upcoming slate of films. In addition to “First Man,” Universal screened footage and trailers from the Kevin Hart comedy “Night School,” “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” and its upcoming “Halloween” reboot. The presentation was capped off with a performance by Cher, on hand to promote “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.”

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