Richard Linklater Apollo film Richard Linklater Apollo film

Fifty-one years to the day since the Apollo 11 space launch, Netflix has revealed that Richard Linklater will produce an animated feature on the subject. Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Adventure will mix animation and live action, and will be released by Netflix.

Here is the synopsis:

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Adventure tells the story of the first moon landing in the summer of 1969 from two interwoven perspectives. It captures both the astronaut and mission control view of the triumphant moment and the lesser-seen bottom-up perspective of what it was like from an excited kid’s perspective, living near NASA but mostly watching it on tv like hundreds of millions of others. It’s ultimately both an exacting recreation of this special moment in history and a kid’s fantasy about being plucked from his average life in suburbia to secretly train for a covert mission to the moon.

And here are the details:

  • The film, written and directed by the Oscar-nominated Linklater, promises an “innovative hybrid of hand-drawn and computer-animated imagery.” The animation will be completed at Minnow Mountain in Austin, Texas and Submarine in the Netherlands. The live action shoot wrapped in March 2020 in Austin.
  • The animation producers on Apollo 10 1/2 have previously collaborated on Amazon Prime Video’s rotoscoped series Undone. Submarine, a production company based in Amsterdam and L.A., works across a range of media, and was recently a production partner on the animated feature Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles.
  • The “excited kid” in the synopsis is based on Linklater himself, who grew up in Houston, Texas. Discussing this project with the Houston Chronicle in 2017, he said, “You had so much going on in Houston at once [in the late 1960s]: NASA, the Medical Center, the Astrodome.”
  • The cast is led by Jack Black and Zachary Levi, and also includes Glen Powell, Josh Wiggins, Milo Coy, Lee Eddy, Bill Wise, Natalie L’Amoreaux, Jessica Brynn Cohen, Sam Chipman, and Danielle Guilbot.
  • Linklater’s Detour FilmProductions is co-producing with Submarine. The producers are Tommy Pallotta, Mike Blizzard, and Submarine’s Femke Wolting and Bruno Felix.
  • Linklater said in a statement, “It struck me years ago that this was my film to make, from both a chronological and proximity level — I was there, going into 3rd grade. Our unique animation style allows both the conjuring of a world long gone and the flowing, playful expression of memory and imagination. It’s been a fun, creative journey to incorporate things like 3d graphics into a live-action shoot to help bring this story to life.”
  • Linklater has previously directed the animated features Waking Life (2001) and A Scanner Darkly (2006), which employed rotoscoping and digital animation techniques.
  • No details have been given about the release of Apollo 10 1/2.

(Image at top: Richard Linklater directs Milo Coy during the live-action shoot for “Apollo 10 1/2.” Photo by Matt Lankes/Netflix © 2020)

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