Buzz Aldrin slams 'First Man' for omitting flag-planting scene, posts picture of moon landing with caption 'Proud to be an American'
Aldrin's character barely featured in the movie and was described by critics as an 'obnoxious loudmouth'
'First Man' — Damien Chazelle's biographical drama chronicling the Apollo11 mission that landed astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin — has been criticized by numerous conservative quarters for not including the iconic scene of Armstrong planting the American flag on the moon. But in what is probably the most stinging rebuke to date, Aldrin himself seems to have come out in protest.
The 88-year-old, who would infamously become the second man to set foot on the moon after Armstrong, tweeted a picture of the flag being planted after the landing in 1969, captioning the photo: "Proud to be an American." Aldrin also retweeted a picture of him saluting the snap.
Based on James R. Hansen's 'First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong', the feature stars Ryan Gosling in the titular role of Armstrong, while Corey Stoll was cast to portray Aldrin. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival on August 29 and has been tipped as an early contender for the Oscars.
However, Aldrin features rarely in the feature, and even when he does, is apparently shown to be an "obnoxious loudmouth". Descriptions of his character ranged from the "spiky and insensitive" to "cynical and mouthy" and even "swaggering hothead". The BBC wrote: "you see almost nothing of Buzz Aldrin". It comes as no surprise then, that Aldrin's recent tweets are being perceived as thinly-veiled digs against the drama.
The controversy surrounding the planting of the U.S. flag is nothing new either, with debates at the time of the landing on whether it should have been a United Nations flag instead. Congress eventually decided that the moon landing was an American project, while Armstrong distanced himself from the issue claiming it was "his job to get the flag there" and that it was not his concern which flag it should be.
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) 31 August 2018
Florida Senator Marco Rubio was one of the many with the opinion that 'First Man' leaving out the scene was "total lunacy". He tweeted, "This is... 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."
Gosling, meanwhile, defended the decision by suggesting that Armstrong's achievements "transcended countries and borders" in an interview, adding that the astronaut did not just view himself as "an American hero". He said that Armstrong was "extremely humble" and always shifted focus to the 400,000 people who made the Apollo 11 mission possible. "He was reminding everyone that he was just the tip of the iceberg – and that's not just to be humble, that's also true," he explained.
Chazelle, who achieved widespread fame for writing and directing multiple Oscar winner 'La La Land', also stated that the decision to leave out the scene was purely aesthetic, insisting that there were no political motivations in doing so. "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," he said.