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Upcoming movie 'First Man' sparks controversy by omitting American Flag planting from moon landing

A display of astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, is at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. A new movie, based on Armstrong, omits his planting of the U.S. flag on the moon in 1969. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The upcoming "First Man" movie — based on American astronaut Neil Armstrong, who became the first man to walk on the moon in 1969 — is missing one of the most iconic and patriotic moments in U.S. history.

The film's French-Canadian director, Damien Chazelle, opted to omit Armstrong planting the American flag on the moon, Business Insider reported. Canadian actor Ryan Gosling, who stars in the biopic, defended Chazelle's decision to forgo the scene.

"First Man" premiered Wednesday in Italy at the 75th annual Venice Film Festival, and critics noted the flag's absence.

Claire Foy of Netflix's "The Crown" co-stars in the film as Armstrong's wife. Corey Stoll of "House of Cards"  plays astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

What did Gosling say?

Gosling argued that Armstrong's accomplishment was viewed by the late astronaut as a "human achievement" rather than an American one, according to The Telegraph.

"I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement [and] that's how we chose to view it," Gosling told reporters at the film festival. "I also think Neil was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts, and time and time again he deferred the focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the mission possible."

The actor said he didn't believe Armstrong saw himself as "an American hero."

"He was reminding everyone that he was just the tip of the iceberg — and that's not just to be humble, that's also true," Gosling continued. "So I don't think that Neil viewed himself as an American hero. From my interviews with his family and people that knew him, it was quite the opposite. And we wanted the film to reflect Neil."

Being from Canada, Gosling said he "might have cognitive bias."

What else?

Armstrong's family, including his two sons, authorized the biography by James Hansen, which the film is based upon. The astronaut died in 2012 at the age of 82.

"First Man" arrives in theaters Oct. 12.

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