(March 12, 2003 – Burbank, CA) – Academy Award-winning filmmaker and actor Clint Eastwood has acquired the rights to Pulitzer Prize-nominated historian James R. Hansen’s authorized biography of Neil Armstrong, the first astronaut to set foot on the moon. Eastwood intends to develop the property into a feature film that he will produce and direct, but not star in. The Malpaso Production will be a Warner Bros. Pictures release worldwide. Hansen’s book is entitled “First Man: A Life of Neil A. Armstrong.” It traces Armstrong’s life as a Korean War fighter pilot through his experiences in the American space program and his historic steps on the moon. An internationally prominent aerospace historian and professor of history at Auburn University, Hansen has the exclusive rights to tell Armstrong’s story. Completion of the manuscript is expected in late 2004. Eastwood previously produced and directed a movie about a fictional U.S. space program in his 2001 Warner Bros. Pictures summer hit “Space Cowboys,” in which he starred with Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland and James Garner as a team of top fighter pilots, now retired, who are brought back into service to assist NASA during a major satellite crisis. Eastwood is currently in post-production on “Mystic River,” a crime drama based on Dennis Lehane’s best-selling novel. The film, produced and directed by Eastwood, stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden and Laura Linney, and will be distributed later this year by Warner Bros. Pictures. “Millions of people watched Neil Armstrong step out onto the Moon’s surface, and millions more have seen those images since the event happened,” stated Eastwood. “However, Armstrong himself is a very enigmatic person. James Hansen’s book examines the life of a private man who shared a profound experience with the entire world; it’s a story that I think would make an interesting movie.” In l993, Clint Eastwood’s revisionist western, “Unforgiven,” earned nine Academy Award nominations and four Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and Best Editor). Eastwood also received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1995 from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Other accolades that Eastwood has accumulated include the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, a Kennedy Center Honors Award and a Lifetime Career Achievement Award from New York’s National Board of Review. Eastwood received a Cesar Honorary Award from the French Film Society for Career Achievement and a Golden Laurel Lifetime Achievement Award from the Producers Guild of America. He was also the recipient of the Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute and the Film Society at Lincoln Center, and he won a Best Director Golden Globe for “Bird” in 1989 and a Hollywood Foreign Press Cecil B. DeMille Career Achievement Award in 1988. As in this anticipated Neil Armstrong picture, Eastwood has been a director/producer and non-actor in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” (1996), “Bird” (1988) and the upcoming “Mystic River.” The property was represented by Joel Gotler and Justin Manask of Joel Gotler & Associates on behalf of the Linda Chester Literary Agency for their client James. R. Hansen. The Chester Agency will be auctioning the publishing rights to the book later this month.
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