Who Is the Narrator in Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood?

Richard Linklater’s ‘Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood’ is set against the backdrop of the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon landing and revolves around a boy named Stan or Stanley (Milo Coy). Like many adults in his neighborhood, his father works at NASA. Stan, an elementary school student, has no shortage of imagination. As the day of the historic launch approaches, he envisions himself being approached by two NASA officials and asked to be the astronaut on the extremely covert Apollo 10½ Mission.

Narration plays a vital role in the overall format of ‘Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood.’ When the story focuses on the sequences involving Stan’s imagination, it is dialogue-driven. However, the story is almost exclusively driven by narration during the scenes that depict Stan’s life with his family, friends, and neighbors. If you are wondering about the narrator of ‘Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood,’ this is what you need to know. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Who Is the Narrator?

The narrator of ‘Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood’ is an older version of Stan. He never appears on the screen but offers an account of one of the most important moments in human history through the eyes of his younger self. We don’t know exactly how old he is, but from the things he says in the film, we can speculate that he is at least a few decades old. Stan is somewhat based on Linklater’s own childhood.

“It was 2004 when I first thought about it [‘Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood’],” Linklater said in an interview. “It was while I was making ‘Boyhood’ when I first thought about it and I was like ‘that was an amazing time (to be a kid).’ That’s when we landed on the moon. And then I remembered this fantasy I had of…this kid in space, kind of ridiculous. I mean, in the tangible world, it’s ridiculous, right? But it’s with a kid and I actually had that fantasy.”

Linklater is in his early 60s, so it is safe to speculate that Stan might be at least around that age. The ‘Before’ series director also stated that ‘Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood’ was “embarrassingly personal” before clarifying that Stan was not his doppelganger. Stan was developed from the memories of the 1960s of not just Linklater but also his siblings, friends, and many people who lived in Houston at the time.

Who Portrays the Narrator?

Comedian and actor Jack Black portrays the narrator or Older Stan in ‘Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood.’ This is the third collaboration between Black and Linklater after ‘School of Rock’ and ‘Bernie.’ Black is one of the most accomplished comedy actors of his generation. He made his screen debut in a season-three episode of the ABC series ‘The Fall Guy’ in 1984. His big-screen debut came about in 1992 with the comedy-drama film ‘Bob Roberts.’ In the ensuing years, Black has essayed a number of memorable roles, including Barry in ‘High Fidelity,’ Ignacio/Nacho in ‘Nacho Libre,’ Po in the ‘Kung Fu Panda’ film series, Jeff “Fats” Portnoy in ‘Tropic Thunder,’ and Professor Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon in the ‘Jumanji’ films.

Read More: What Kind of Animation Was Used in the Making of Apollo 10½? Why Does It Look So Realistic?