Ryan Gosling was “worried” about having to deliver Neil Armstrong’s famous “one small step for man” line in new movie First Man.
The La La Land actor portrays the astronaut in a new biopic, directed by Damien Chazelle, which follows Neil’s life in the years leading up to 1969, when he became the first man to land on the moon, alongside Buzz Aldrin.
During the moon landing sequence, Ryan has to deliver Neil’s infamous line, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” and he has now admitted that he was daunted about having to repeat such a well-known phrase.
“I was worried about it. It hung over me as it is the most famous line and a beautiful thing to say. Neil didn’t think about it ahead of time so I tried not to think about it too much,” he said during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show.
Before he became an astronaut, Neil was a pilot, so the 37-year-old decided to learn to fly to prepare for the role, but it was much more difficult than he expected.
“I thought, ‘How hard can it be when loads of celebrities do it.’ Well, it turns out it is really hard to do. My trainer made me do a self-imposed stall – it was a terrible idea and I wanted to land straightaway and learn something else!” Ryan joked.
As part of the preparation, The Notebook star also tried out the multiple-axis space test, a gimbal rig that simulates the disorientation astronauts would experience during a tumble spin in space, and he commented that he “hated” it when Damien suggested he got spun faster. He had to get back into it to recreate Neil’s first time in the rig for the biopic.
The astronaut passed away in 2012 at the age of 82, but his sons Mark and Eric have given Ryan their seal of approval.
“It was the biggest relief that, after they saw the film, they said, ‘All our lives we have been asked what it is like to be the sons of the first man on the moon. Now we can say, ‘Go and see the film,'” he recalled.
The Graham Norton Show airs in the U.K. on Friday (28Sep18).