One small step for man -- and one giant leap for mankind -- was taken on July 20, 1969, when American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to ever walk on the moon. An upcoming Apple TV+ sci-fi drama called For All Mankind is set to explore an alternate history of that momentous historical event, with soap opera alum Jeff Branson (ex-Ronan Malloy, The Young and the Restless; ex-Shayne Lewis, Guiding Light; ex-Jonathan Lavery, All My Children) starring as Neil Armstrong.
Says the official description of the mini-series, which is slated to debut on Friday, November 1, "The first manned mission to the moon during the Space Race in the late 1960s was a global success for NASA and every American across the United States. But this drama answers the question: 'What if the Space Race had never ended?' In an alternate timeline, the USSR beats the USA to the moon, thus setting its first Russian cosmonaut on it. Dubbed as 'Red Moon,' this event leaves NASA in devastation. This doesn't mean those working there have given up as they challenge the Soviet Union a second time to show that there is no giving up on hope."
Says Branson of taking on Neil Armstrong, such an iconic person in US history, "It's intimidating because, how do you do it? The people of that time were beyond brave... but the point is, you suck it up, put the shoes on, and make it happen."
He continues, "I went through the Challenger experience when I was growing up, watching that in my school when I was younger, and I remember how much that engaged me into the whole NASA program. And to be able to actually get the call that you're going to play Neil Armstrong? It's still unbelievable."
For All Mankind stars several actors as fictional characters, including Joel Kinnaman as Edward Baldwin, Michael Dorman as Gordo Stevens, Wrenn Schmidt as Margo Madison, Sarah Jones as Tracy Stevens, Shantel VanSanten as Karen Baldwin, and Jodi Balfour as Ellen Waverly.
The series also features several actors as real-life people, including Branson as Armstrong, Chris Agos as Buzz Aldrin, Matt Battaglia as John Glenn, Chris Bauer as Deke Slayton, Dan Donohue as Thomas O. Paine, Colm Feore as Wernher von Braun, Ryan Kennedy as Michael Collins, Eric Ladin as Gene Kranz, Steven Pritchard as Pete Conrad, and Rebecca Wisocky as Marge Slayton.
Branson won the hearts of soap opera fans in his debut role as All My Children's Jonathan Lavery, which he played from 2004 to 2007. He went on to play Guiding Light's Shayne Lewis from 2008 to 2009, winning the 2009 Daytime Emmy Award in the Outstanding Supporting Actor category (he tied with AMC actor Vincent Irizarry, who also won in the category for his work as Pine Valley doctor David Hayward). Branson's final soap role was that of The Young and the Restless' Ronan Malloy, which he played from 2010 to 2012 before going on to appear in shows like Chosen, Supergirl, Major Crimes, and Ten Days in the Valley.
Check out the teaser trailer of For All Mankind below and let us know what you think in the Comments section at the end of the article.
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