Ryan Gosling defended the decision to omit the American flag from a scene in his upcoming film that depicted one of the most iconic moments in U.S. history.
Gosling portrayed astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon in the film "First Man," which will be released in the U.S. on Oct. 12. But when the film was screened at the Venice Film Festival on Tuesday, critics noticed that, during the moon landing scene, the planting of the American flag was left out.
"I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement [and] that's how we chose to view it. I also think Neil was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts, and time and time again he deferred the focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the mission possible," the Canadian-born Gosling said, according to The Telegraph.
"He was reminding everyone that he was just the tip of the iceberg - and that's not just to be humble, that's also true. So I don't think that Neil viewed himself as an American hero. From my interviews with his family and people that knew him, it was quite the opposite. And we wanted the film to reflect Neil."
But the decision to omit the flag has not sat well with some -- in particular, U.S. Senator and former presidential candidate Marco Rubio (R-FL).
"This is total lunacy. And a disservice at a time when our people need reminders of what we can achieve when we work together," Rubio said in a tweet. "The American people paid for that mission,on rockets built by Americans, with American technology & carrying American astronauts. It wasn’t a UN mission."
Directed by French-American Damien Chazelle, "First Man" has received 84 percent positive reviews so far on RottenTomatoes.com. Chazelle won an Oscar for Best Director for "La La Land" in 2016.