Disney+ has announced a TV version of The Right Stuff, based on the Tom Wolfe book of the same name. The eight episode scripted drama, which follows the true story of the test pilots who led America’s race into space during the Sixties, lands on the streaming platform in the autumn, as part of Disney Plus’s National Geographic strand.
The Right Stuff was previously made into a movie in 1983, starring Ed Harris, Scott Glenn and Sam Shepard.
The show presents the early space program as America’s first reality show, with the test pilots effectively contestants, reflecting how they became instant celebrities when drafted into the Mercury space mission.
The two men at the centre of the story are Major John Glenn, test pilot and committed family man with unwavering principles, portrayed by Patrick J. Adams (Suits), and rival Lieutenant Commander Alan Shepard, one of the best test pilots in Navy history, played by Jake McDorman (What We Do in the Shadows, Lady Bird).
The rest of the Mercury Seven include Lieutenant Gordon Cooper, (Colin O’Donoghue, Once Upon a Time), the youngest of the seven; Wally Schirra (Aaron Staton, Mad Men), a competitive pilot with a gift for pulling pranks; Scott Carpenter (James Lafferty, The Haunting of Hill House), Deke Slayton (Micah Stock, Escape at Dannemora), and Gus Grissom (Michael Trotter, Underground).
“This true story of scientific innovation and human perseverance could not be more timely…”
As the Mercury 7 astronauts are thrust into the public eye, NASA’s PR department goes into overdrive to paint the perfect picture, aided by the writers and editors at LIFE Magazine. Danny Strong (Billions) plays John ‘Shorty’ Powers, NASA’s omnipresent PR man.
“This true story of scientific innovation and human perseverance could not be more timely,” says Courteney Monroe, president, National Geographic Global Television Networks. “This is an aspirational story about exploration, ambition, determination and resilience and reminds us that human beings can achieve the extraordinary when united by a common purpose.”
“As our audiences around the world turn to Disney+ to find inspiration and optimism, we believe the true-life heroism of the Mercury 7 will showcase the tenacity of the human spirit and inspire a new generation to reach for the stars,” adds Ricky Strauss, president of Content and Marketing.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson are executive producers, with Mark Lafferty (Castle Rock, Halt and Catch Fire) as showrunner.