The incredible story of America’s first astronauts begins right here on Earth in the Disney+ original series “The Right Stuff,” with a two-episode premiere on Friday, October 9. Based on the bestselling book by Tom Wolfe, the eight-episode season is an inspirational look at the early days of the U.S. Space Program and the iconic story of America’s first astronauts, the Mercury 7. Produced for National Geographic by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and Warner Bros. Television, “The Right Stuff” takes a clear-eyed look at America’s first “reality show,” when ambitious astronauts and their families became instant celebrities in a competition of money, fame and immortality.
The Space Race
At the height of the Cold War in 1959, America fears it is a nation in decline as the Soviet Union dominates the space race. But, the U.S. government has a solution – put a man in space. Newly-formed NASA is given the monumental task, and a group of the nation’s best engineers estimate they’ll need decades to accomplish the feat…but they only have two years.
NASA engineers, including rocket scientist Bob Gilruth (Patrick Fischler) and the passionate Chris Kraft (Eric Ladin), work against the clock under mounting pressure from Washington. Together, they hand select seven astronauts from a pool of military test pilots. These are ordinary men, plucked from obscurity, and within days of being presented to the world, they are forged into heroes before they achieve a single heroic act.
The two men at the center of it all are Major John Glenn (Patrick J. Adams), a revered Marine test pilot and committed family man, and Lieutenant Commander Alan Shepard (Jake McDorman), one of the best test pilots in Navy history. Other members of the Mercury 7 include Captain Gordo Cooper (Colin O’Donoghue), the youngest of the seven selected to everyone’s surprise; Wally Schirra (Aaron Staton), a competitive pilot with a gift for pulling pranks; Scott Carpenter (James Lafferty), dubbed “The Poet” by the other astronauts; Deke Slayton, (Micah Stock), a taciturn but incredibly intelligent pilot and engineer; and Gus Grissom, (Michael Trotter), a decorated military veteran who eventually becomes the second man in space.
The series also examines the astronauts’ families, including Annie Glenn (Nora Zehetner), who contends with a speech impairment in the public eye; Louise Shepard (Shannon Lucio), a wife and mother who refuses to let Alan’s transgressions affect her home; and Trudy Cooper (Eloise Mumford), an accomplished pilot who puts her own ambitions aside to present the image of a happy family.
The Right Stuff
Set during a time when many wondered whether America’s glory days were behind it, “The Right Stuff” is an aspirational story about ambition and exploration and how ordinary human beings can achieve the extraordinary.
Showrunner Mark Lafferty (“Castle Rock,” “Halt and Catch Fire”) serves as executive producer along with Appian Way’s Jennifer Davisson and Leonardo DiCaprio, in addition to Will Staples (“Animals,” “Shooter”), Emmy® winner Danny Strong (“Empire,” “The Hunger Games” movies, “Game Change”), Howard Korder (“Boardwalk Empire”) and Chris Long (“The Americans,” “The Mentalist”) who directed and executive produced the first episode. Academy Award® winner Thelma Schoonmaker (“Raging Bull,” “GoodFellas,” “The Departed”) is consulting producer and Michael Hampton shepherded this project on behalf of Appian Way and is co-producer.
Archewell Productions Announces First Netflix Series
Archewell Productions, in partnership with The Invictus Games Foundation, today announced its first Netflix series. Heart of Invictus, from the Oscar-winning team of director Orlando von Einsiedel and producer Joanna Natasegara (The White Helmets, Virunga, Evelyn), will follow a group of extraordinary competitors from around the globe, all service members who have suffered life-changing injuries or illnesses on their road to the Invictus Games The Hague 2020, now set to take place in 2022.
The multi-episode series will join the competitors as they train, and along the way reveal powerful stories of resilience and hope. The series will also follow the organizers as they work to prepare for the Games, postponed until next Spring, and as they partner with each nation’s team to support their competitors over the coming year.
Contribute in Their Own Exceptional Way
“Since the very first Invictus Games back in 2014, we knew that each competitor would contribute in their own exceptional way to a mosaic of resilience, determination, and resolve. This series will give communities around the world a window into the moving and uplifting stories of these competitors on their path to the Netherlands next year. As Archewell Productions’ first series with Netflix, in partnership with the Invictus Games Foundation, I couldn’t be more excited for the journey ahead or prouder of the Invictus community for continuously inspiring global healing, human potential and continued service,” said Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, Co-Founder of Archewell Productions and Patron of The Invictus Games Foundation.
Dominic Reid, Chief Executive of the Invictus Games Foundation, said: “We’re very excited about the opportunity to shine the global spotlight of Netflix on the men and women that we work with, in order to ensure that even more people can be inspired by their determination and fortitude in working towards their recovery. This partnership will also bring in significant funding to the charity. We are extremely grateful to our Founding Patron for his continued efforts to support the military community, and for making this partnership happen.”
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Archewell Productions team are building an ambitious slate that reflects the values and causes they hold dear. From the moment I met them, it’s been clear that the Invictus Games hold a very special place in their hearts, and I couldn’t be happier that their first series for Netflix will showcase that for the world in a way never seen before,” said Ted Sarandos, Co-CEO and Chief Content Officer, Netflix.
Inform, Elevate and Inspire
This series is Archewell Productions’ first with Netflix and this partnership with the Invictus Games Foundation aligns with Archewell Productions’ aim to produce programming that informs, elevates, and inspires. The Duke of Sussex will appear on camera and serve as Executive Producer on the series.
The Invictus Games Foundation is serving as an Executive Producer and this project will provide significant funding to the organization, supporting their work to continue engaging and empowering their community in the lead-up to the Invictus Games The Hague 2020. As part of that effort, their global community is being provided with access to support beyond the Games, including virtual sports activities to aid their recovery and preparation. The series will follow the Invictus competitors accessing this training, Invictus Endeavours, and other opportunities provided via their global platform, We Are Invictus.
Discover the Magic Behind Wandavision in Marvel Studios Assembled
WandaVision, was a blend of classic television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which Wanda Maximoff and Vision—two super-powered beings living idealized suburban lives—begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.
Kevin Feige, president, Marvel Studios and chief creative officer, Marvel said “Wanda and Vision are two of our most powerful and complex heroes, and this series is a perfect expansion point for MCU storytelling.”
The series not only marks the first Marvel Studios’ Disney+ series, it was its first journey into the world of sitcoms—with an MCU twist. “It’s a mash-up of classic sitcoms and large-scale Marvel action,” says Matt Shakman, who directs all nine episodes. “I think it’s really lovely that the first streaming show from Marvel Studios—producer of huge blockbuster films—is really a love letter to the history of television.”
Assembled: The Making of Wandavision
Now travel behind the scenes to discover the magic that went into creating Wandavision, in the new show Avengers Assembled streaming now on Disney+.
Find out from Wandavision stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, along with Head Writer and Executive Producer Jac Schaeffer what went into creating the show, now in new series Marvel Studios’ Assembled: The Making Of Wandavision streaming now on Disney+.