Screen scene: Local film news

ONE GIANT LEAP: Local actor Willie Repoley, here pictured in character as David Frost in N.C. Stage Company's production of "Frost/Nixon," also has a speaking part in the new Neil Armstrong biopic "First Man." Photo by Lisa Mills

• In addition to currently starring as David Frost opposite Michael MacCauley’s Richard Nixon in N.C. Stage Company’s production of Frost/Nixon, local actor Willie Repoley also has a speaking part in the new Neil Armstrong biopic First Man. Under the direction of Oscar-winner Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Repoley plays NASA spacecraft communicator Jim Fucci, who was crucial in guiding Armstrong and Dave Scott to safety after a critical malfunction on the Gemini VIII mission.

“This was a really terrific project to work on. Damien sent us pages and pages of notes and documents to read, and of course you can listen to the audio of the missions online, so the research was very thorough and, for me, completely fascinating,” Repoley says. “Looking at technical specs of these spacecraft, reading firsthand accounts of what it feels like to walk on the moon and hearing these guys work through these crises in real time was extraordinary.”

In honing his onscreen portrayal of the real-life figure, Repoley says that while it’s difficult to find pictures of Fucci, there are descriptions of how he sounded. “Scott wrote about how glad he was to hear his voice in that moment. He said Fucci was calmer than the guys in Houston, and that was just what he and Neil needed right then,” Repoley says. “It’s a real challenge and honor to try and bring that levelheadedness and human connection to this moment of crisis in the movie.”

In what Repoley calls “a lovely bonus,” Fucci’s widow got in touch with him over the summer. The two had a long phone conversation about numerous topics, including Fucci fishing in Hawaii with Armstrong and his early job as a radio DJ. Repoley has plans to meet up with her in person soon.

• The Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity ReStore, 31 Meadow Road, presents a screening of Priced Out on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 6:30 p.m. The documentary about gentrification in a historically black community in Portland, Ore., will be followed by a panel of local housing advocates who will discuss how displacement affects women and how the film relates to Asheville. They will also present potential solutions. Free, but online registration is requested to get an accurate head count. Complimentary beer and popcorn will be provided.

• The Bike-In Cinema Series at New Belgium Brewing Co., 21 Craven St., continues on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m., with the original Ghostbusters. The film will begin at dusk on the event lawn. Attendees are asked to bring a chair or blanket. Free to attend.

Burial Beer Co., 40 Collier Ave., will screen the original The Evil Dead on Friday, Oct. 26, at 8:30 p.m. Free to attend.


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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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