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National Geographic’s ‘The Right Stuff’ coming to Disney+; filmed around Central Florida

by Banks Lee

A new show from National Geographic called “The Right Stuff,” filmed in several Central Florida locations, will premiere this fall on Disney+.

the right stuff

The first scripted Disney+ original series from National Geographic, “The Right Stuff” is adapted from Tom Wolfe’s bestselling nonfiction account of the early days of the U.S. space program.

In late 2019, the series was filmed in several locations throughout Central Florida including Cocoa Beach, Winter Garden, Tampa, and soundstages at Universal Studios Florida.

The eight-episode 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 could kill them or make them immortal.

The two men at the center of the story are Major John Glenn, a revered test pilot and committed family man with unwavering principles, portrayed by Patrick J. Adams (“Suits”), and Lieutenant Commander Alan Shepard, one of the best test pilots in Navy history, portrayed by Jake McDorman (“What We Do in the Shadows,” “Lady Bird”).    

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.

The astronauts’ strengths are equaled only by their flaws. As the men succumb to the temptations that surround them, Project Mercury threatens to come apart. At the heart of the historic drama populated by deeply human characters are two men who become icons — Glenn and Shepard — as they jockey to be the first man in space. The entire program is nearly brought to its knees by their intense rivalry.

The series also follows NASA’s engineers, who work against the clock as pressures mount from Washington and a transfixed public. And we witness the underbelly of a myth-making propaganda machine headed by NASA’s PR department and aided by the writers and editors at LIFE Magazine.

“This true story of scientific innovation and human perseverance could not be more timely,” said Courteney Monroe, president of 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+.”

Take a look at a behind-the-scenes trailer for the show below:

Behind the Scenes | The Right Stuff | Disney+

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