Nat Geo’s The Right Stuff adds Jake McDorman, Joe Dempsie & more
National Geographic’s The Right Stuff series adaptation has added Jake McDorman (Murphy Brown, What We Do in the Shadows), Joe Dempsie (Game of Thrones), Aaron Staton (Castle Rock, Mad Men), Michael Trotter (Underground), Micah Stock (Escape at Dannemora) and James Lafferty (The Haunting of Hill House, One Tree Hill), The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
The Right Stuff, based on Tom Wolfe’s book, takes a 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.
The new additions to the cast will play the Mercury Seven, the test pilots who became the first group of astronauts of the United States. They join Patrick J. Adams (Suits, Sneaky Pete), who will play Maj. John Gleen, a revered test pilot and committed family man with unwavering principles. He is the only astronaut to have experienced fame before Project Mercury, and he immediately locks horns with Alan Shephard in an unrelenting fight to the first man in space.
Dempsie plays Gordon Cooper, the youngest of the seven and a surprise selection. Staton will play Wally Schirra, a competitive pilot and prankster. Lafferty plays Scott Carpenter, nicknamed “The Poet” by the rest of the group. Stock plays Deke Slayton, a taciturn but talented pilot and engineer, and Trotter plays Gus Grissom, who will eventually become the second man in space.
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, archrivals Glenn and Shepard jockey to become 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.
The series comes from Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way and Warner Horizon Scripted Television. DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson, and Will Staples are serving as executive producers. Mark Lafferty will act as showrunner and will also executive produce. David Nutter is set to direct and executive produce the premiere episode. The project was shepherded by Appian Way’s Michael Hampton.
Production on the series will begin this fall in Florida with an expected release date of 2020 where the series will premiere globally on National Geographic.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)