The new Neil Armstrong biopic has not yet debuted in American theaters, but it's already causing controversy.
"First Man," starring Ryan Gosling, has been called out by critics who noticed during a screening at the Venice Film Festival Wednesday that the film fails to portray the iconic moment when Armstrong and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin planted the American flag on the moon.
The flag-raising was meticulously planned by NASA because there's no wind on the moon and a rod was inserted to create the illusion that the flag was fluttering.
Planting the American flag on the moon was controversial back in 1969, as no nation is permitted to claim territory in outer space. There was talk of a United Nations flag being used instead, but it was ultimately decided to use the stars and stripes to serve as a proud symbol of American achievement.
Gosling was later asked why the flag wasn’t shown in the movie during a press conference that followed the screening.
“This was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement and that’s how we chose to view it,” he said. “I don't think that Neil viewed himself as an American hero. From my interviews with his family and people that knew him, it was quite the opposite. And we wanted the film to reflect Neil."
Gosling added that he believed Armstrong was extremely modest, considering his achievement.
"I also think Neil was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts, and time and time again he deferred the focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the mission possible," he said.