Apollo 10 1/2

Richard Linklater is heading back to 1969 for his next movie.

Linklater, the filmmaker behind films like Boyhood and the Before trilogy, is heading to Netflix to direct Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Adventure, which tells the story of the mission to the moon from the perspective of the astronauts and an excited kid who lives near NASA and is watching the whole thing from afar.

And since Linklater is no stranger to cinematic experimentation, he’s making the movie with a combination of live-action footage, hand drawn animation, and CGI. Get more details below.

Linklater, who is also working with Netflix on a 20-year movie project (!) called Merrily We Roll Along, is directing Apollo 10 1/2 and he also wrote the screenplay, which is based on his own childhood growing up in Houston, Texas.

“It struck me years ago that this was my film to make, from both a chronological and proximity level – I was there, going into third grade,” he said in a statement. “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.”

Here’s the film’s official description:

Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Adventure tells the story of the first moon landing in the summer of 1969 from two interwoven perspectives. It both captures 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 re-creation 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.

The movie stars Jack Black, Zachary Levi, Glen Powell, Josh Wiggins, Milo Coy (pictured with Linklater above), Lee Eddy, Bill Wise, Natalie L’Amoreaux, Jessica Brynn Cohen, Sam Chipman, and Danielle Guilbot. The live-action filmmaking has already been completed – Linklater finished it just before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the industry in March of 2020 – and “the innovative hybrid of hand drawn and computer animated imagery” will take place at Minnow Mountain in Austin, Texas, and at a company called Submarine in the Netherlands, who worked on the second season of Amazon’s Undone (which, if it follows in the footsteps of season 1, will feature some striking visuals of its own). Linklater, one of the key voices in indie cinema in the 1990s, has previously played with rotoscoping and experimental styles in movies like Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, and I’m very curious to see what this film’s visual style looks like when Apollo 10 1/2 hits Netflix.

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