Richard Linklater’s Animated/Live-Action Hybrid About the Apollo 11 Moon Landing Sounds Amazing

Richard Linklater directing his new movie, Apollo 10 1/2, with actor Milo Coy. (Photo: Netflix)
Richard Linklater directing his new movie, Apollo 10 1/2, with actor Milo Coy. (Photo: Netflix)

Undoubtedly, Richard Linklater is one of our most underrated filmmakers. For the past 30 years, he’s been quietly making masterpiece after masterpiece, and while only a few of those venture into sci-fi (mainly Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly), his next film sounds like it’s doing that and so much more.

Linklater’s next film is called Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Adventure and it’s the story of the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing, inspired by his own memories, and told from three unique perspectives: the astronauts in space, Mission Control at NASA, and through the eyes of a kid who lives near NASA and watches history unfold on TV. “It’s both an exacting re-creation of this special moment in history and a kid’s fantasy about being plucked from his average life in suburbia to secretly train for a covert mission to the moon,” according to a press release.

Netflix will release the film, which combines live-action scenes and hand-drawn animation, as well as computer-generated effects. The cast includes Jack Black, Zachary Levi, Glen Powell, Josh Wiggins, Lee Eddy, Bill Wise, Natalie L’Amoreaux, Jessica Brynn Cohen, Sam Chipman, and Danielle Guilbot.

“It struck me years ago that this was my film to make, from both a chronological and proximity level — I was there, going into third grade,” Linklater said. “Our unique animation style allows both the conjuring of a world long gone, and the flowing, playful expression of memory and imagination. It’s been a fun, creative journey to incorporate things like 3D graphics into a live-action shoot to help bring this story to life.”

All of which is to say: “Holy crap this sounds amazing, can we see this movie right now, please?” Well, it sounds like it’s going to be a while. Linklater apparently finished live-action production right before the covid-19 quarantine began in March and the animation work is happening now. That makes it sound like a 2021 or 2022 release is most likely.