These incredible true stories are hitting the big screen

But which stars are playing the real-life legends?

From astronauts to two kinds of Queen, here are the real people whose lives were intense enough for the world’s biggest stars to play.
Becoming a legend - true stories

Neil Armstrong

Who was he? The first man to walk on the moon.
Who plays him in First Man? Ryan Gosling, with Claire Foy as his extremely worried wife Janet. Not many people thought Neil and his copilots would survive the trip.
What do I need to know? “Neil was not a showy person,” director Damien Chazelle, who directed Ryan in La La Land, told PEOPLE. “A lot of the other astronauts were outgoing, hotshot types but Neil was brainier, quieter...I think Ryan was able to capture it beautifully.”


  • Most of the film was shot without the use of green-screen to make it as immersive as possible for both the actors and the audience. They built full-scale replicas of the spacecrafts.
  • Gosling consulted directly with NASA to prepare for the role. He also decided to learn how to fly – until realising, mid-lesson, that it was “a terrible idea,” as he told Deadline.
  • The star was even strapped into a training device used by actual astronauts and ended up with a minor concussion from hours of simulated space travel.

First Man is out 12 October - find out more here.

Becoming a legend - true stories

Freddie Mercury

Who was he? The lead singer of rock mega-band Queen.
Who plays him in Bohemian Rhapsody? Rami Malek, the sleepy-eyed guy from TV’s Mr Robot, The Pacific and 24. Game of Thrones’ Aidan Gillen plays Queen’s manager and Mike Myers plays a record exec.
What do I need to know? Rami worked with coaches to capture the way Freddie walked and talked - with prosthetic teeth to mimic the star’s famous overbite. He obsessively studied interviews and performances of the rock legend and practiced singing every night, with the teeth in.


  • The actors performed the Live Aid Concert scene in front of a live audience.
  • Malek’s said his favourite Queen song is Lily of the Valley.
  • That’s Malek singing in the film - with some extra touches. It’s a combination of Malek’s voice, recordings from Queen master tapes and additional vocals recorded by Canadian singer Marc Martel.

Bohemian Rhapsody is out 26 October - find out more here.

Becoming a legend - true stories

Queen Elizabeth I

Who was she? Kind of a big deal in 16th-century England.
Who plays her in Mary, Queen of Scots? Margot Robbie, initially looking as gorgeous as ever. But as she gets older and the weird white face paint comes out, she starts to envy her fresh-faced Scottish cousin Mary (Saoirse Ronan), who unlike her has an heir. And hair. And wants the crown of England for herself.
What do I need to know? “I was in hair and makeup for three and a half hours,” Margot told Entertainment Tonight. ‘When I saw myself in the makeup I was, ‘Oh god, I look like Voldemort.’”

Mary, Queen of Scots is out 18 January 2019 - find out more here.

Becoming a legend - true stories

Richard Wershe Jr

Who was he? At the age of 14, the FBI’s youngest ever informant.
Who plays him in White Boy Rick? Newcomer Richie Merritt, who was found after a nationwide search for a streetwise teen who had chemistry with his deadbeat screen dad Matthew McConaughey.
What do I need to know? A street hustler and undercover agent, Ricky’s life story is crazy. We won’t reveal the details, but in the trailer, we see his father, played by McConaughey, say to him: "You're going to get in too deep and then they're never going to let you out.”

White Boy Rick is out 7 December - find out more here.

Beautiful Boy

David Sheff

Who was he? The New York dad whose bestselling 2008 book taught the world what it’s like when your son gets addicted to crystal meth (spoiler: not good).
Who plays him in Beautiful Boy? Steve Carell in a rare serious role. Rising star Timothée Chalomet plays son Nic who lied, stole and broke his dad’s heart during his years-long addiction.
What do I need to know? Both Steve and Timothée have had Best Actor Oscar nominations, but Timothée sees his on-screen dad as the better tragic actor. “I just feel like the luckiest kid in the world,” he told Interview Magazine. “I love being able to see how people sink into the material...watching [them] work through scenes, trying new things, always keeping it fresh.”

Beautiful Boy is out 18 January 2019 - find out more here.