Fresh off her appearance in ‘Venom’, Michelle Williams has lined up a new role as high school teacher Christa McAuliffe, who was selected by NASA to travel into space on the doomed space shuttle ‘The Challenger’, which will serve as the name of the film. Martin Zandvliet (‘Land of Mine’, ‘The Outsider’) will direct, with a script by Jayson Rothwell (the upcoming ‘Polar’). John and Art Linson will produce with Argent Pictures’ Ben Renzo. The movie is looking to start production in May 2019.
McAuliffe was a New Hampshire high school teacher, who was chosen by NASA to travel into space as part of the Teacher in Space Project. On January 28, 2986, the Challenger exploded on live TV, just moments after takeoff, killing all seven crew members.
The plan was for McAuliffe to teach class from space. Several school have subsequently been named in her honor and she was awarded a posthumous Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
Williams is a four-time Academy Award nominee, most recently for ‘Manchester by the Sea’. ‘Venom’ marks a rare foray into commercial movies, as she tends to gravitate to more serious dramas. She just wrapped the drama ‘After the Wedding’ with Julianne Moore and Billy Crudup. She has just begun production on an eight-episode miniseries about Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon for FX. Williams will play Verdon, opposite Sam Rockwell as Fosse. She also has the drama ‘This is Jane’ in pre-production.
Producer Renzo said:
“We are more than humbled and extremely grateful for the opportunity to help tell the story of Christa McAuliffe and the Challenger mission. Christa McAuliffe’s legacy deserves the strength, courage, experience and humanity that Michelle Williams brings to the role. The entire Argent team is honored and eager to responsibly capture and share the events and personal journeys of those surrounding this important historical moment with audiences around the world to help remember and further appreciate the sacrifices Christa and rest of the Challenger crew made to further our journey into space.”
‘The Challenger’ doesn’t yet have a release date, but with production starting in May, it likely won’t appear in theaters until 2020.