Today we have casting news for The Right Stuff, from National Geographic, with Appian Way and Warner Horizon Scripted Television. Jake McDorman (What We Do in the Shadows) and Joe Dempsie (Game of Thrones) are joining the cast. This marks the network’s next global scripted series, which is based on Tom Wolfe’s iconic best-selling nonfiction book. Jake McDorman and Joe Dempsie will join Patrick J. Adams, who will play John Glenn, as well as Aaron Staton (Narcos: Mexico), Michael Trotter (Underground), Micah Stock (Escape at Dannemora) and James Lafferty (Castle Rock). McDorman will play astronaut Alan Shepard, and Dempsie will play astronaut Lt. Gordon Cooper.
The series takes a clear-eyed look at what would become America’s first “reality show,” as ambitious astronauts and their families become instant celebrities in a competition that will either kill them or make them immortal in the quest to be a part of Project Mercury.
Production will begin this fall in Cocoa Beach, Fla., and will premiere globally on National Geographic in 2020.
The first season of The Right Stuff, which uses Wolfe’s book as its starting point, starts at the height of the Cold War. 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 adrenaline-fueled 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. At the heart of a historic drama populated by deeply human characters, two archrivals — Glenn and Shepard — jockey to be the first man in space.
Subsequent seasons of The Right Stuff will carry through to the epochal Apollo Space Program, where humankind saw one of its greatest achievements — man setting foot on the moon — and missions beyond.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson are executive producers, along with Mark Lafferty (Castle Rock, Halt and Catch Fire), who has signed on as showrunner. David Nutter (Game of Thrones, Band of Brothers) is set to direct and executive produce the series’ premiere episode. Will Staples (Animals, Shooter) is also an executive producer. Michael Hampton shepherded this project on behalf of Appian Way.