‘The Right Stuff’: Nat Geo’s Mercury 7 Drama Series Moves To Disney+ For Fall Premiere
EXCLUSIVE: National Geographic Channel’s upcoming series The Right Stuff will become a Disney+ original. The period drama, starring Patrick J. Adams and Jake McDorman, will premiere in the fall under the Nat Geo brand on the SVOD platform. Adapted from Tom Wolfe’bestselling nonfiction account of the early days of the U.S. space program, The Right Stuff is produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and Warner Horizon Scripted Television.
The first Nat Geo Disney+ show, docu series The World According to Jeff Goldblum, also had been greenlighted for the linear cable network before migrating to Disney+ to become one of the platform’s original offerings at launch. The Right Stuff marks Nat Geo’s first scripted original series for Disney+. It will provide the platform with a high-end original drama series in the fall when streamers will feel the effects of the current coronavirus-related production shutdown with a dwindling volume of new originals.
The eight-episode The Right Stuff examines what would become America’s first “reality show,” as ambitious astronauts and their families become instant celebrities in a competition that could kill them or make them immortal. The two men at the center of the story are Major John Glenn (Adams), a revered test pilot and committed family man with unwavering principles,, and Lieutenant Commander Alan Shepard (McDorman), one of the best test pilots in Navy history.
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 U.S. government conceives of NASA’s Project Mercury, igniting a space race with the Soviets and making instant celebrities of a handful of the military’s most accomplished test pilots. These individuals, who come to be known as the Mercury Seven, are forged into heroes long before they have achieved a single heroic act. The nation’s best engineers estimate they need several decades to make it into outer space. They are given two years. (Watch below a behind-the-scenes video featuring footage from the series.)
The rest of the Mercury Seven includes Lieutenant Gordon Cooper (Colin O’Donoghue), the youngest of the seven who was selected to everyone’s surprise; Wally Schirra (Aaron Staton), a competitive pilot with a gift for pulling pranks; Scott Carpenter (James Lafferty), a soulful man who was dubbed “The Poet” by the other astronauts; Deke Slayton (Micah Stock), a taciturn but incredibly intelligent pilot and engineer; and Gus Grissom, (Michael Trotter), 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+.”
The rest of The Right Stuff‘s ensemble cast includes Nora Zehetner as Annie Glenn, the wife of John Glenn and his childhood sweetheart who has a speech impairment that can sometimes make communication difficult; Eloise Mumford as Trudy Cooper, Gordon Cooper’s wife and an accomplished pilot herself, with her rocky marriage to Gordon providing conflict throughout the season; and Shannon Lucio as Louise Shepard, Alan Shepard’s devoted and long-suffering wife.
Patrick Fischler plays Bob Gilruth, a soft-spoken rocket scientist who is the partner of the more brash Chris Kraft, who is portrayed by Eric Ladin. They are critical members of NASA’s Space Task group. Danny Strong plays John “Shorty” Powers, NASA’s omnipresent PR man, constantly taking the astronauts on glad-handing trips; Josh Cooke plays Loudon Wainwright Jr., LIFE Magazine’s star reporter, who is tasked with writing the biographies of all seven astronauts and has the keenest look at what’s really transpiring.
“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,” said Ricky Strauss, president, Content & Marketing, Disney+. “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.”
DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson are executive producers, along with showrunner Mark Lafferty. Chris Long directed and executive produced the first episode. Will Staples and Howard Korder are also executive producers. Thelma Schoonmaker and Danny Strong are consulting producers. Michael Hampton shepherded this project on behalf of Appian Way and is co-producer.
“Tom Wolfe’s book brilliantly captured a critical moment in American history that really resonated with all of us at Appian Way and Nat Geo,” said Davidson. “Disney+ is the perfect partner to bring forth this story of what it takes to truly achieve something extraordinary, but also the personal costs of that ambition.”
Added Lafferty, “The Right Stuff evokes the wonder and awe of the moment we first escaped the bounds of our only home and ventured into the unknown. But the show is as much about who we are today as it is about our historic achievements. At a time when the world is confronted with significant challenges, this story reminds us that what seems impossible today can become the triumph of tomorrow.”
Globe, April 20
Cover: Kenny Rogers’ body is still on ice -- why his widow won’t bury him
Page 2: Up Front & Personal -- Sloppy Tyra Banks, Gary Busey grocery shopping in Beverly Hills, Brian Austin Green grabs meals to go
Page 3: Lisa Marie Presley is living large, puffy-faced Goldie Hawn hikes to her California home, Chris Pratt spring cleaning
Page 4: Bindi Irwin has another surprise in store after pulling off her secret Australia Zoo wedding to Chandler Powell -- she’s pregnant
Page 5: A bank has asked the LA Sheriff’s Office to force Tori Spelling to pay a $89,000 credit card debt and her money-bags mom Candy Spelling has once again refused to help, Patrick Stewart secretly married his third wife singer-songwriter Sunny Ozell in a Mexican restaurant in California with Ian McKellen officiating
Page 6: Catherine Zeta-Jones admits she’s a bitch and being polite to fans pushes her over the edge
Page 7: Spoiler Alert for Grey’s Anatomy -- Ellen Pompeo who has starred as Dr. Meredith Grey for 15 seasons will be killed off next season in a blockbuster story line
Page 8: Now that he’s moving to California rogue royal Prince Harry plans to turn his years as a stoner into a king’s ransom by launching a huge marijuana business empire -- Harry and wife Meghan Markle are slapping down $9 million for a 286- acre pot farm near Clear Lake in north central California to fuel their flashy new Hollywood lifestyle
Page 10: Jon Voight tells his daughter Angelina Jolie to back off of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston
Page 11: Law & Order vet Elisabeth Rohm has called off her year-long engagement to California judge Jonathan Colby on good terms but the two have different priorities at this time, the handwritten lyrics to Hey Jude by Paul McCartney are set to sell for nearly $200,000 at a massive online Beatles auction
Page 12: Celebrity Buzz -- Conan O’Brien rides a bike through Brentwood, Ellen DeGeneres has been recently blasted as one of the meanest people alive, Amy Poehler is co-founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade in Hollywood and NYC and the comedy clubs and improv schools laid off most staff without notice or severance or health coverage and only after embarrassing press and online comments trashed the millionaire she finally will provide funds for a one-month extension to healthcare for the full-time benefit eligible staff, Little Big Town singer Kimberly Schlapman says she’s 100% sure her 12-year-old daughter Daisy was a heaven-sent miracle thanks to her deceased first husband Steven Roads, Woody Allen outcreeps himself by spilling in his memoir the details of bedding both sisters of his former muse and live-in girlfriend Diane Keaton, Ramona Singer of RHONYC did away with the housecleaners due to coronavirus and posted a picture of herself mopping in a sexy nightie
Page 13: Frumpy Kate Hudson, Sean Penn’s silver roots start to show, Maud Adams walks her dog, Kristen Stewart relies on the company of ghosts
Page 14: Seth Rogen has a new pastime: watching flick flops like Cats while flying high, Demi Lovato’s got something to sing about -- a brand new ripped boyfriend named Max Ehrich who loves showing off his astonishing pecs, Fashion Verdict -- Emily Blunt 5/10, Noomi Rapace 3/10, Christina Aguilera 2/10, Cardi B 4/10
Page 16: Rihanna vows to have up to four children in ten years with or without a man, Superman never carried an ounce of flab but his alter ego Dean Cain has piled on an unhealthy 50 pounds and is gobbling supersize portions of pizza and fast food to find comfort because of his nose-diving career
Page 17: Inked-up train wreck Aaron Carter declared himself single in a nude photo after his girlfriend Melanie Martin whose name was just tattooed on his face was collared for felony domestic violence
Page 19: 10 Things You Don’t Know About Scarlett Johansson, Luann de Lesseps confesses she’s still tippling even after her shameful drunken bust, stuck in lockdown Courteney Cox is binge-watching her sitcom Friends and was shocked to realize she can’t remember most of the series that made her rich and famous
Page 20: True Crime
Page 23: Former boxing champ Mike Tyson is dropping shocking confessions including having sex with fans, drug binges, psychedelic trips and being pen pals with England’s most vicious gangster
Page 24: Cover Story -- a furious family feud is exploding over late country great Kenny Rogers whose body is being kept on ice because his widow Wanda Rogers wants to hold a massive send-off that’s now banned by the coronavirus lockdown
Page 26: Health Report
Page 29: Eminem gushes that being able to raise kids is one of his greatest accomplishments, former steroids user and New York Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca is raging over how fellow cheater Alex Rodriguez has revived his image as an A-list celeb and is slamming the retired New York Yankees slugger as one of the fakest people out there, Alicia Keys felt manipulated and objectified by a sleazy photographer who made her open her shirt and yank down the top of her jeans when she was only 19
Page 30: Former teen sex slave Virginia Roberts Giuffre who claims she was pimped out to Britain’s Prince Andrew by pedophile Jeffrey Epstein is now charging the kinky billionaire and his mistress Ghislaine Maxwell pressured her to carry his child through surrogacy
Page 31: Steve Carell shockingly quit his hit show The Office at the peak of its popularity because he wasn’t feeling the love from showrunners
Page 32: Single mom-of-three Kourtney Kardashian is so lonely and desperate for love she’s stopped being set up by Hollywood pals and is casting her fishing net for a man online, a London collector of James Bond guns was robbed of five pistols used in 007 flicks worth a staggering $125,000, a sweaty towel that late NBA star Kobe Bryant tossed over his shoulders as he bid goodbye to basketball has shockingly sold for more than $33,000
Page 38: Real Life
Page 40: Daniel Craig is worth about $180 million thanks to playing James Bond but he’s got bad news for his kids -- he’s cutting them off without a cent because he finds inheritance distasteful -- he has a 28-year-old daughter from his first marriage to Fiona Loudon and a two-year-old daughter with current wife Rachel Weisz, busted in the college admissions cheating scandal Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli are accusing the prosecution of strong-arming its key witness to lie that they knew their payments were bribes and not donations to the university
Page 44: Straight Talk -- newly leaked video is yet more proof that desperate loser Kanye West is a filthy parasite who’s been trying to save his fizzling career by leeching onto superstar songbird Taylor Swift
Page 45: George Clooney is in hot water now that Nespresso the coffee giant he shills for on TV has admitted buying beans from farms that pay kids pennies for laboring in the fields, dumpy Drew Barrymore is hitting rock bottom again with her weight and is tired of blubbering in her closet over clothes that don’t fit and has vowed to give the extra weight the heave-ho before her new daytime talk show gets going
Page 47: Hollywood Flashback -- Psycho, Bizarre But True