Kristen Stewart to Portray Astronaut Sally Ride in TV Series ‘The Challenger’

Kristen Stewart to Portray Astronaut Sally Ride in TV Series ‘The Challenger’

©Seberg, courtesy of Amazon Studios

Kristen Stewart will play astronaut and physicist Sally Ride in The Challenger, an upcoming TV series about the space race of the 1970s. Ride was the first woman and the first member of the LGBTQ+ community to be launched into space at a time when astronauts were typically heterosexual white males.

Maggie Cohn, the writer and showrunner for the new series,  had earlier created American Crime Story, Lou, Narcos: Mexico, and The Staircase. The story for The Challenger is based on Meredith E. Bagby’s book The New Guys, which chronicled the exploits of a new, diverse generation of astronauts that also included a married couple and representatives of the African American and Asian American communities.

Bagby is one of the executive producers of the series, along with Kyra Sedgwick of Big Swing Productions, who developed the concept. Joining them as EP’s are Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey of Amblin Productions.

In 1983, Ride became the first American woman to fly on the space shuttle. Four years later, she became the only astronaut to serve on the presidential commission that investigated the Challenger disaster. She was credited with identifying faulty O-rings as responsible for the accident. Ride died of cancer in 2012 at the age of 61.

The Challenger will be Kristen Stewart’s first appearance in a television series. The actress had earlier appeared in films including Twilight, Underwater, Happiest Season, Personal Shopper, and Clouds of Sils Maria. She received an Oscar nomination for her leading role in Spencer, Pablo Lorrain’s 2021 film about Princess Diana.

In talking about The Challenger, Kyra Sedgwick has been quick to describe the project as a collaborative effort, noting that the goal was always to “tell familiar stories with a new perspective and point of view.”

As she told Deadline: “This is something we’ve worked on at Big Swing since 2017, me, Meredith and Valerie, about this new class of astronaut recruited by NASA in the early 1970s. Sally Ride was among them, and the focus is this newly recruited wild, feral group of astronauts who were all very diverse.”

Describing Kristen Stewart’s enthusiasm for the project, Sedgwick was quoted as saying; “She has never done television, but when she read this she became obsessed with telling the story of Sally Ride from her own unique perspective that I won’t even try to paraphrase because she is so eloquent about it. She was so stunning in these pitch meetings and that was a huge part of why it has been so competitive. She’s so compelling and was so rabid about telling this story about an American hero who had to hide who she was, in that time.”

Check out more of Edward’s articles. 

Comment (0)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here