Michelle Williams to Play Christa McAuliffe in Upcoming Movie

Challenger crew. Back row, left to right: mission specialist Ellison Onizuka, payload specialist Christa McAuliffe, payload specialist Gregory Jarvis, mission specialist Judith Resnik. Front row left to right: pilot Michael J. Smith, commander Francis “Dick” Scobee, mission specialist Ronald McNair. (Credit: NASA)

Four-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams is set to play Christa McAuliffe, the New Hampshire schoolteacher who died with six other crew members aboard the space shuttle Challenger in January 1986, in an upcoming movie named after the spacecraft.

“We are more than humbled and extremely grateful for the opportunity to help tell the story of Christa McAuliffe and the Challenger mission,” Argent Pictures’ Ben Renzo told Deadline.

“Christa McAuliffe’s legacy deserves the strength, courage, experience and humanity that Michelle Williams brings to the role. The entire Argent team is honored and eager to responsibly capture and share the events and personal journeys of those surrounding this important historical moment with audiences around the world to help remember and further appreciate the sacrifices Christa and rest of the Challenger crew made to further our journey into space.”

  • Robert G. Oler

    I guess its to early for a Titanic remake

  • 76 er

    We’re going to have to relive the sadness…and the anger. “When do you expect us to launch, Thiokol, next year?”

  • ThomasLMatula

    And NASA is still using the SRBs to launch astronauts on the SLS. Yes, only the very best, most modern and safest technology for American astronauts.

  • 76 er

    Yeah, they threw away the orbiter, kept the SRBs and turned it all into a Frankenstein rocket. All because nameless bureaucratic number crunchers came up with an acceptable amount for ‘cost’.

    I personally didn’t know any of the crew who died aboard Challenger but watching this film is going to hurt.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    You want an active manned space sector? If everything goes right, things will go wrong. Agree with him or not, Rand Simberg’s thoughts on safety warrant serious contemplation.

  • 76 er

    I see that Simberg’s book “Safe is not an Option” is available for sale. Haven’t previously heard about this book, I’ll check it out. Thanks.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Check out his interviews on “The Space Show”. He brings up good points.

  • duheagle

    It used to be said that when The Movies did a bio-pic of your life, you would always be played by someone better looking than yourself. It looks as though ‘The Challenger’ marks a return to this immemorial policy after the notable departure from it of having Neil Armstrong portrayed in ‘First Man’ by someone who is nowhere near as good-looking as Neil was in 1969.

    I wonder, in consequence, who the producers of this latest project are going to cast in the role of Judith Resnick. She was as good or better looking than almost anyone in Hollywood these days.

  • SamuelRoman13

    0 no. Another movie to avoid.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Rands is a modest effort, I tried to read it but gave up

    So far no American has died the James Cook death IN space. I would argue the Apollo 1 astronauts died such a death but it was not in space and well the 13 guys came close…but the shuttle “mishapes” were simply carelessness while in the pursuit or mediocrity

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    But that will always be there. Once flights become more free form, that “James Cook” death will come. We’ll start putting crews into situations they can’t extract themselves from without stupidity.

  • duheagle

    Capt. Cook was killed by hostile natives of a place he visited. So, yeah, I think it’s going to be a loooooong time before an American, or anybody else, for that matter, dies a James Cook death in space.

  • Robert G. Oler

    you missed the metaphor completely

  • Robert G. Oler

    to me a Captain Cook death is not bad. it is a death by going where no one has gone before, doing what no one has done before etc…and there is risk that neither can be factored in nor can be planned for

    I kind of look at Apollo 1 (and even 13) about this. yes in hindsight the risk could have been managed…but well it was not just simple carelessness.

    the 14 deaths on teh shuttle were simple carelessness…there is nothing glorious about that nor really admirable.

    when my relatives on my grandfathers side (his father’s father etc) left VA after traveling across the ocean…and came to Texas. of the 22 people who started out from Germany in the same family 13 were left standing and 3 (including my Grandfathers fathers’ father) had been born. But the kids father died on the way to Texas.

    these are james cook deaths… the risk cannot be factored or dealt with before hand but is worth the rewards

    the latter has escaped us so far

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    One wonders what was going on in Germany to push them to such risk? In my family’s case it was the next door neighbours taking over my ancestors lemon groves in Sicily in the 1880’s. As my ancestors got pushed out they just kept going to NJ the process took from 1884 to 1911. By then the passage to the US was a breeze compared to what the next door neighbors could dole out in a rough country.

    As for shuttle, my own reading into Challenger and Columbia was how well the two vehicles almost performed. In Challengers case, the build up of alumina in the breached joint could very well have held long enough to finish the burn without plasma torching the tank and attach point. On Columbia they almost made it down to the speed and altitude that SR-71 pilot who was thrown clear of a breakup survived his fall from on high. I always wondered if the front nose section could have been turned into a ‘break away survival capsule’ where if the crew actually employed their pressure suits (They did not) it would give minimal protection down to 80 k ft and mach 3 ish to give them the chance. That said, I don’t think we engineer spacecraft to fail with options deep into failure cascades.

  • Robert G. Oler

    The legend(s) in the family range from a lot of debts to being on the wrong side of the German confederation formed in the 1820’s out of the remains. “Germany” at the time was a series of small shifting cities and states that lacked any cohesion whatsoever. Even for the educated class (and Gustav the guy who pushed everyone to leave could “write” I’ve found this much out) survival and propering was hard. the “German” movement particularly to Texas had just started. I know they wanted to go directly to Northern Spain, which by the time they got there was Norte Mexico but they instead went to VA. but they kept treking 🙂

    this gets us into “why space” but the problem of course is that “Space” right now and likely for awhile is not a place to “start over”…you need substantial assets to get there…and survival there is well beyond a strong back and an axe.

    as for the shuttle system

    I am a fly by wire guy and the amazing thing about Columbia is how well the entire system held together, until well there was no wing (or left one) left on the vehicle.

    the shuttle system is one of those unspoken “failures” of American policy (andnow the station is) because as soon as it was realized that the system was not going to launch XX times a year at cheap cost…instead of simply recognizing that this was not realistic in the first place…the system just froze and well no one took any real interest in evolving its parts to try and get some lemonade out of a lemon “system” and try and take advantage of what was there.

    all in all the only goal was to “find something it could do”, get that going and then fly it as long as federal policy would allow it. .the problem is that at some point the system got to dangerous for the politicans.