Kristen Stewart to Play Astronaut Sally Ride in Limited Series Project THE CHALLENGER — GeekTyrant

Kristen Stewart is set to star in a limited series project titled The Challenger, and she will take on the role of Sally Ride, the astronaut and physicist who became the first American woman to fly in space in 1983.

Ride became an instant celebrity. Three years later the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds into its ascent, killing all seven members of the crew. Ride became the only active astronaut to become part of the Rogers Commission that investigated the disaster and determined its cause.

She ended up passing away from cancer at age 61 in 2012. The series is based on the book The New Guys, which was written by Meredith E. Bagby

The description of the book reads: The never-before-told story of NASA’s 1978 astronaut class, which included the first American women, the first African Americans, the first Asian American, and the first gay person to fly to space. With the exclusive participation of the astronauts who were there, this is the thrilling, behind-the-scenes saga of a new generation that transformed space exploration.

The story of NASA’s Astronaut Class 8, or “The F*cking New Guys,” as their military predecessors nicknamed them, is an unprecedented look at these extraordinary explorers who broke barriers and blasted through glass ceilings.

Egos clashed, ambitions flared, and romances bloomed as the New Guys competed with one another and navigated the cutthroat internal politics at NASA for a chance to rocket to the stars.

Marking a departure from the iconic military test pilots who had dominated the space program since its inception, the New Guys arrived at the dawn of a new era of space flight. Teardrop-shaped space capsules from Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo gave way to the space shuttle, a revolutionary space plane capable of launching like a rocket, hauling cargo like a truck, and landing back on Earth like an airliner.

They mastered this new machine from its dangerous first test flights to its greatest achievements: launching hundreds of satellites, building the International Space Station, and deploying the Hubble Space Telescope.

The New Guys depicts these charismatic young astronauts and the exuberant social and scientific progress of the space shuttle program against the efforts of NASA officials who struggled to meet America’s military demands and commercial aspirations.

When NASA was pressured to fly more often and at greater risk, lives were lost in the program’s two biggest disasters: Challenger (1986) and Columbia (2003).

Caught in the crosshairs of this battle are the shuttle astronauts who gave their lives in those catastrophes, and who gave their lives’ work pursuing a more equitable future in space for all humankind. Through it all they became friends, rivals, lovers, and ultimately, family.

Kyra Sedgwick’s Big Swing Productions developed the project and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partner will produce.

Maggie Cohn will serve as the writer and showrunner. She previously worked on American Crime Story, The Staircase and Narcos: Mexico.

Sedgwick said in a statement: “This is something we’ve worked on at Big Swing since 2017, me, Meredith and Valerie, about this new class of astronaut recruited by NASA in the early 1970s. Sally Ride was among them, and the focus is this newly recruited wild, feral group of astronauts who were all very diverse.

“And then on an Oppenheimer track, it also tells the story of the Rogers Commission that investigated the Challenger disaster that Ride took part in. Growing up in Florida, Meredith Bagby was obsessed with space and the shuttle, and she also watched the Challenger explode.

“Meredith got hundreds of hours of interviews with the members of that class, and we have relationships with all those living astronauts and they will be part of our brain trust on the show.

“She wrote the book and it went on the bestseller lists. We wanted so much to tell this story as a limited series. Our goal at Big Swing is to tell familiar stories with a new perspective and point of view. I had a relationship with Maggie Cohn, and she fell in love with the book.

“Valerie had this dream of having Kristen Stewart, and after more than a year of trying to get Kristen this book through back channeling, she read it and she fell in love. Getting Kristen and Maggie was incredible, for a company nobody really knows yet. We are three girls with a dream.

“Then we thought, what better than to bring in Steven Spielberg to help tell this awe-inspiring story of the astronauts who inspired space travel for a new generation? They helped us prepare the pitch that went out to the marketplace, and it has been extremely competitive and we are close to a deal.”

When talking about bring Kristen Stewart in to star in the series, Sedgwick said: “She has never done television, but when she read this she became obsessed with telling the story of Sally Ride from her own unique perspective that I won’t even try to paraphrase because she is so eloquent about it.

“She was so stunning in these pitch meetings and that was a huge part of why it has been so competitive. She’s so compelling and was so rabid about telling this story about an American hero who had to hide who she was, in that time.

“Who better to play Sally Ride than one of the great actors of her generation? As they say in Hollywood, passion wins the day. Her passion for being an executive producer is vast. As dogged as we were about getting the script to her, she has been that dogged about getting it sold in the marketplace.”

The plan is to get the series ready and released during the Challenger disaster anniversary, which happened 38 years ago, on January 28, 1986.

Source: Deadline

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