The Challenger: Kristen Stewart to make TV debut in series about famed astronaut Sally Ride

Kristen Stewart will make her TV debut in The Challenger, a series about famed astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.

Last Updated on June 10, 2024

Kristen Stewart, Sally Ride

Deadline reports that Kristen Stewart will make her small-screen debut with The Challenger, a limited series following Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space.

The Challenger is based on The New Guys, written by Meredith E. Bagby, and comes from Kyra Sedgwick‘s Big Swing Productions, which set it up at Steven Spielberg’s Amblin. Sally Ride was part of the first class of NASA astronauts to include women. After completing her training, she flew aboard the space shuttle Challenger on several missions, becoming the first American woman to fly in space. When the Challenger exploded in 1986, she became part of the Rogers Commission, which investigated the reason behind the explosion. It was later revealed that she had provided key information about the O-rings, which were later determined to be the cause.

For Sedgwick, this project has been a long time coming. “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,” she told Deadline. “Sally Ride was among them, and the focus is this newly recruited wild, feral group of astronauts who were all very diverse. And then on an Oppenheimer track, it also tells the story of the Rogers Commission that investigated the Challenger disaster that Ride took part in. Growing up in Florida, Meredith Bagby was obsessed with space and the shuttle, and she also watched the Challenger explode. Meredith got hundreds of hours of interviews with the members of that class, and we have relationships with all those living astronauts and they will be part of our brain trust on the show.

Stewart will also serve as an executive producer on The Challenger, with Sedgwick noting that the actress was very keen to bring Ride’s story to life. “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,” Sedgwick said. “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. Who better to play Sally Ride than one of the great actors of her generation? As they say in Hollywood, passion wins the day.” Maggie Cohn (American Crime Story) will serve as the writer and showrunner of The Challenger, with Amazon reportedly close to acquiring the project.

Source: Deadline

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Based in Canada, Kevin Fraser has been a news editor with JoBlo since 2015. When not writing for the site, you can find him indulging in his passion for baking and adding to his increasingly large collection of movies that he can never find the time to watch.