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Re-creation of Neil Armstrong crash begins in Perry

A crane holds replica of a moon lander trainer that nearly killed Neil Armstrong in 1968, a year before he became the first man to walk on the moon. The scene is being recreated in Perry this week as part of a movie about Armstrong.
A crane holds replica of a moon lander trainer that nearly killed Neil Armstrong in 1968, a year before he became the first man to walk on the moon. The scene is being recreated in Perry this week as part of a movie about Armstrong. Special to The Telegraph

A dramatic moment in the life of Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, is being re-created at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter this week.

After setup last week, filming is set to take place this week. The Universal Pictures film is “First Man,” starring Ryan Gosling.

Although a movie spokeswoman declined to discuss details of what is being filmed in Perry, an application for a filming permit indicates it will re-create a training crash that nearly killed Armstrong. In 1968, the year before he set foot on the moon, Armstrong bailed out of a moon lander trainer a moment before it exploded and crashed.

The filming site is on property east of the fairgrounds. Although Perry police had a wide area around the site blocked, a replica of the moon lander trainer could be seen hanging from a crane around noon Monday. There were no onlookers seen around the area.

Darlene McLendon, president and CEO of the Perry Chamber of Commerce, said people there are excited about the filming. She said she had not heard of any Gosling sightings.

“It is exciting not just for this one picture, but once a location pops up on a location scout’s radar, they all start looking at us,” she said. “It’s a foot in the door.”

She said Perry has been site of several other movies, including at the Guardian Center, a unique privately owned disaster training facility that has a mock city.

Mayor Jimmy Faircloth said a movie shoot generates a fair amount of tourism dollars because of the large number of people that it takes to film a scene, and those people spend a lot of money while they are in the city.

“I’m glad to see them and hope we have more of them,” he said.

“First Man” is sure to get a lot of press leading up to its release. It is directed by Damien Chazelle, who directed “La La Land.” That film starred Gosling and won six Academy awards.

Wayne Crenshaw: 478-256-9725, @WayneCrenshaw1

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