National Geographic’s adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff, which chronicles the early days of the U.S. space program, will debut on Disney+ this autumn.
At the height of the Cold War in 1959, the Soviet Union dominates the space race.
To combat a national sentiment of fear and decline, the government conceives of NASA’s Project Mercury, igniting a space race which makes instant celebrities of a handful of the military’s most accomplished test pilots.
The two men at the centre of the eight-part series are Major John Glenn, a revered test pilot and committed family man with unwavering principles, portrayed by Patrick J. Adams (“Suits”), and Lieutenant Commander Alan Shepard, one of the best test pilots in Navy history, portrayed by Jake McDorman (“What We Do in the Shadows,” “Lady Bird”).
The rest of the Mercury Seven includes Lieutenant Gordon Cooper, portrayed by Colin O’Donoghue (“Once Upon a Time,” “Carrie Pilby,” “The Rite”), the youngest of the seven who was selected to everyone’s surprise; Wally Schirra, portrayed by Aaron Staton (“Mad Men,” “Narcos: Mexico,” “Castle Rock”), a competitive pilot with a gift for pulling pranks; Scott Carpenter, portrayed by James Lafferty (“The Haunting of Hill House,” “Small Town Crime”), a soulful man who was dubbed “The Poet” by the other astronauts; Deke Slayton, portrayed by Micah Stock (“Brittany Runs a Marathon,” “Escape at Dannemora”), a taciturn but incredibly intelligent pilot and engineer; and Gus Grissom, portrayed by Michael Trotter (“Underground,” “The Evening Hour”), a no-nonsense test pilot who eventually becomes the second man in space.
“This true story of scientific innovation and human perseverance could not be more timely,” said Courteney Monroe, president, National Geographic Global Television Networks.
“National Geographic’s The Right Stuff’ 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.
“This series provides a compelling behind-the-scenes look at the flawed, but heroic Mercury 7 astronauts and we are thrilled that it has found its perfect home on Disney+.”
Ricky Strauss, president, Content & Marketing at Disney+, added: “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.
“The wonderful team of storytellers at National Geographic, Warner Horizon Scripted Television and Appian Way have crafted a compelling and entertaining tale and we are honored to give it a global home as the first scripted Disney+ original series from National Geographic.”
The series has been produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and Warner Horizon Scripted Television.