Richard Linklater’s latest film “Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood” poses the question: what if the first person to walk on the moon wasn’t Neil Armstrong but was actually a kid from Houston leading a mission called Apollo 10 1/2 in secret because NASA accidentally built the space shuttle too small?
That amusing fantasy and twist on American history though is just the set up for Linklater’s latest and arguably most personal film, which just released its first trailer Monday. It’s one in which he explores the reality of what life was like in Houston, Texas in 1969 just before the moon landing, all seen through the eyes of a kid who lived right next door to all of it.
“Apollo 10 1/2” is a collection of comedic vignettes that show how rapidly the world seemed to be changing for those living at the heart of the space race, from AstroTurf on baseball fields to color televisions and a wealth of futuristic stories on TV, to even the advent of dial tone phones. And while the movie isn’t strictly autobiographical, it does draw heavily from Linklater’s own experience growing up in Houston. And it has a strict attention to detail in imagining the world of 1969 Houston through its hybrid of 2-D and 3-D animation with a pinch of motion capture.
Jack Black is the film’s narrator, and “Apollo 10 1/2” also stars Milo Coy, Lee Eddy, Bill Wise, Natalie L’Amoreaux, Josh Wiggins, Sam Chipman, Jessica Brynn Cohen, Danielle Guilbot, as well as appearances by Zachary Levi and Glenn Powell as two NASA directors.
Linklater wrote and directed the film, and he also produced with Mike Blizzard, Tommy Pallotta, Femke Wolting and Bruno Felix.
“Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood” is making its world premiere at SXSW on March 13, and it will then debut on Netflix on April 1.
Check out the first trailer for the film above.