‘The Proper Stuff’s Jake McDorman spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HL about exploring Alan Shepard’s ‘duality’ and what received below Alan’s pores and skin essentially the most about John Glenn. Plus, we have now a primary have a look at the brand new episode.
Jake McDorman stars because the legendary astronaut Alan Shepard, one of many Mercury Seven who would find yourself being the primary American in area. Alan’s journey together with the remainder of the Mercury Seven is being explored within the Disney+ sequence The Proper Stuff. Whereas we are able to solely see Jake as Alan, he advised HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY that he didn’t even initially audition for the function of Alan Shepard.
“Truthfully, it wasn’t my choice to go for this explicit function,” Jake advised HollywoodLife. “I truly got here in and browse for Gordon Cooper [played by Colin O’Donoghue]. On the time that I did that, there was one other actor that was tentatively scheduled to play Alan Shepard. So I learn the script with Gordo Cooper in thoughts and simply peripherally type of received to see Alan’s function in the entire thing and type of that competitors with John Glenn [played by Patrick J. Adams]. I bear in mind being like, wow, that’s an superior character, however so removed from me as an individual.”
The primary moments of The Proper Stuff’s first episode set the scene for the rivalry between Alan and John Glenn, who was the primary American to orbit the Earth. Alan accuses John of going behind his again and says they don’t need to fake like they’re associates behind closed doorways. Whereas John was very comfy within the highlight, Alan very a lot shied away from it. He needed to solely concentrate on moving into area.
“I feel the factor that basically irked Shepard about Glenn, and that is why they type of had been at reverse ends of the spectrum right here, is that Shepard I feel by no means lied about what he needed,” Jake defined. “Though he compartmentalize these elements of himself, like infidelity and elements of himself from his household and the remainder of the astronauts, when it got here to work he was simply unabashedly aggressive and needed it to be about who was the very best pilot. Whereas John was off entertaining questions like ‘what sort of underwear do you wish to put on in area?’ and that stuff was simply noise to Alan. He wasn’t very adept at it both. However much more so I feel it simply received below his pores and skin as a result of he noticed that John, although he’s an ethical man, he doesn’t drink, he’s a household man, he’s a dedicated husband… All these issues are true, nevertheless it’s not like him going off and being cute to the press isn’t a tactic to place himself earlier than the opposite guys. For John to coyly play that off and be like, no, I’m simply attempting to do what’s greatest for this system. It’s like, no, don’t do this holier than thou, this has nothing to do with you. Like, at the least we’re sincere. We wish to drink, we like journey, and goddamm*t we wish to be first, and also you’re pretending such as you’re not even enjoying the sport. You’re enjoying it behind our again. In order that simply actually damage him. For those who have a look at it on paper, it’s simply one other means of being viciously formidable on John Glenn’s half. In order that they had been the identical, however I feel the type of picture of John being morally superior and subsequently pondering is superior is what actually received below Alan Shepard’s pores and skin.’
Though the lads of the Mercury Seven had been nearly like a “foster household of like-minded fighter jocks,” Jake careworn that “there might solely be one first. So it was inherently aggressive, whereas on the similar time, I feel there was an innate brotherhood these guys had.”
The Mercury Seven turned well-known earlier than any of them had ever gone to area. Jake opened up about why that bothered somebody like Alan Shepard. “For those who had been a musician or an actor of the time or an artist, you’ll know that a certain quantity of your work goes to be public and your life is then going to be public. However simply to be catapulted to Beatles degree fame earlier than you’d even executed the factor I feel was actually uncomfortable for lots of those guys apart from John Glenn,” Jake advised HollywoodLife. “John Glenn got here in fairly savvy at navigating the press. He was already just a little little bit of a celeb and had been on TV. I feel he understood that managing public curiosity by means of publicity was paramount to retaining the area program on observe. If folks misplaced curiosity, they had been executed. They received ridiculed by even Chuck Yeager himself and a few of their friends. Once they came upon that they’re not going to be in a cockpit, they’re going to be in a capsule the place they really took Ham, the chimpanzee, and put him in area earlier than Shepard, I feel that simply perpetuated that picture of, look, a monkey might do it. The celebrity surrounding an occasion that had but to happen I feel was a paradox that basically, actually type of f**ked with them.”
After getting the function of Alan, Jake famous that Alan’s “duality” was one thing that “jumped out immediately” to him. “He and Louise his spouse stayed collectively till his loss of life, and the one different couple from the Mercury Seven the place that was the case was John Glenn,” Jake continued. “I suppose it was additionally the case for Gus Grissom, however he died within the fireplace in Apollo 1. So for everybody else who made it into outdated age, it was solely Louise and Shepard and Glenn and Annie who stayed collectively. It was fairly nicely documented that Shepard had a way of life that didn’t appear appropriate with a secure marriage, but by some means it was. So this duality of the lifetime of the celebration, enjoyable man, however devoted husband, devoted father, methodical skilled, all these sorts of parts appeared so contradictory to all be happening inside one man, not to mention one man who was catapulted to international fame and celeb with none warning. That was the a part of him that appeared actually fascinating to play for me, the way you compartmentalize these completely different sorts of variations of your self however have all of them really feel like they’re the identical man.” New episodes of The Proper Stuff are launched Fridays on Disney+.