‘The Right Stuff’s Jake McDorman spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HL about exploring Alan Shepard’s ‘duality’ and what bought underneath Alan’s pores and skin probably the most about John Glenn. Plus, we’ve got a primary take a look at the brand new episode.
Jake McDorman stars because the legendary astronaut Alan Shepard, one of many Mercury Seven who would find yourself being the primary American in house. Alan’s journey together with the remainder of the Mercury Seven is being explored within the Disney+ sequence The Right Stuff. Whereas we are able to solely see Jake as Alan, he advised MeSlop EXCLUSIVELY that he didn’t even initially audition for the position of Alan Shepard.
“Truthfully, it wasn’t my determination to go for this specific position,” Jake advised MeSlop. “I truly got here in and skim for Gordon Cooper [performed by Colin O’Donoghue]. On the time that I did that, there was one other actor that was tentatively scheduled to play Alan Shepard. So I learn the script with Gordo Cooper in thoughts and simply peripherally form of bought to see Alan’s position in the entire thing and form of that competitors with John Glenn [performed by Patrick J. Adams]. I bear in mind being like, wow, that’s an superior character, however so removed from me as an individual.”
The primary moments of The Right Stuff’s first episode set the scene for the rivalry between Alan and John Glenn, who was the primary American to orbit the Earth. Alan accuses John of going behind his again and says they don’t must fake like they’re mates behind closed doorways. Whereas John was very snug within the highlight, Alan very a lot shied away from it. He wished to solely give attention to moving into house.
“I believe the factor that actually irked Shepard about Glenn, and that is why they form of had been at reverse ends of the spectrum right here, is that Shepard I believe by no means lied about what he wished,” Jake defined. “Though he compartmentalize these components of himself, like infidelity and components of himself from his household and the remainder of the astronauts, when it got here to work he was simply unabashedly aggressive and wished it to be about who was one of the best pilot. Whereas John was off entertaining questions like ‘what sort of underwear do you wish to put on in house?’ and that stuff was simply noise to Alan. He wasn’t very adept at it both. However much more so I believe it simply bought underneath his pores and skin as a result of he noticed that John, although he’s an ethical man, he doesn’t drink, he’s a household man, he’s a dedicated husband… All these issues are true, however it’s not like him going off and being cute to the press isn’t a tactic to place himself earlier than the opposite guys. For John to coyly play that off and be like, no, I’m simply attempting to do what’s greatest for this system. It’s like, no, don’t try this holier than thou, this has nothing to do with you. Like, a minimum of we’re trustworthy. We wish to drink, we like journey, and goddamm*t we wish to be first, and also you’re pretending such as you’re not even taking part in the sport. You’re taking part in it behind our again. In order that simply actually damage him. For those who take a look at it on paper, it’s simply one other approach of being viciously bold on John Glenn’s half. In order that they had been the identical, however I believe the form of picture of John being morally superior and subsequently pondering is superior is what actually bought underneath Alan Shepard’s pores and skin.’
Though the boys of the Mercury Seven had been nearly like a “foster household of like-minded fighter jocks,” Jake pressured that “there might solely be one first. So it was inherently aggressive, whereas on the similar time, I believe there was an innate brotherhood these guys had.”
The Mercury Seven grew to become well-known earlier than any of them had ever gone to house. Jake opened up about why that bothered somebody like Alan Shepard. “For those who had been a musician or an actor of the time or an artist, you’ll know that a specific amount of your work goes to be public and your life is then going to be public. However simply to be catapulted to Beatles stage fame earlier than you’d even finished the factor I believe was actually uncomfortable for lots of those guys aside from John Glenn,” Jake advised MeSlop. “John Glenn got here in fairly savvy at navigating the press. He was already a bit of little bit of a star and had been on TV. I believe he understood that managing public curiosity by means of publicity was paramount to conserving the house program on monitor. If folks misplaced curiosity, they had been finished. They bought ridiculed by even Chuck Yeager himself and a few of their friends. After they discovered that they’re not going to be in a cockpit, they’re going to be in a capsule the place they really took Ham, the chimpanzee, and put him in house earlier than Shepard, I believe that simply perpetuated that picture of, look, a monkey might do it. The celebrity surrounding an occasion that had but to happen I believe was a paradox that actually, actually form of f**ked with them.”
After getting the position of Alan, Jake famous that Alan’s “duality” was one thing that “jumped out straight away” to him. “He and Louise his spouse stayed collectively till his dying, and the one different couple from the Mercury Seven the place that was the case was John Glenn,” Jake continued. “I suppose it was additionally the case for Gus Grissom, however he died within the hearth in Apollo 1. So for everybody else who made it into previous age, it was solely Louise and Shepard and Glenn and Annie who stayed collectively. It was fairly effectively documented that Shepard had a life-style that didn’t appear appropriate with a secure marriage, but by some means it was. So this duality of the lifetime of the celebration, enjoyable man, however devoted husband, devoted father, methodical skilled, all these sorts of parts appeared so contradictory to all be occurring inside one man, not to mention one man who was catapulted to world fame and movie star with none warning. That was the a part of him that appeared actually fascinating to play for me, the way you compartmentalize these totally different sorts of variations of your self however have all of them really feel like they’re the identical man.” New episodes of The Right Stuff are launched Fridays on Disney+.