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Kristen Stewart Gears Up to Star as Sally Ride in Amazon MGM’s ‘The Challenger’

Kristen Stewart Gears Up to Star as Sally Ride in Amazon MGM's 'The Challenger'


  • Kristen Stewart takes on the role of Sally Ride in
    The Challenger
    , portraying the challenges faced by diverse astronauts in the 1970s.
  • The series highlights Ride’s critical role in investigating the Challenger disaster, showcasing her significance beyond her astronaut status.
  • Stewart critiques the film industry’s superficial progress in gender dynamics, expressing skepticism towards selective inclusivity practices.

Kristen Stewart is stepping into a role that’s out of this world as she portrays Sally Ride, the first American woman to soar into space, in the upcoming limited series, The Challenger. The series will see NASA’s space shuttle program during the 1970s, focusing particularly on the recruitment and challenges of a diverse group of astronauts. These will include Ride, the first Black and Asian American astronauts, and a married couple. The series will mix tales of ambition, intelligence, and romance amid the backdrop of space exploration rivalry with the Soviet Union.

Per Deadline, the show will be Stewart’s first major television series role. The Challenger was developed by Kyra Sedgwick’s Big Swing Productions and in partnership with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners. Maggie Cohn, known for her work on American Crime Story and Narcos: Mexico, is onboard as the writer and showrunner, adding a layer of narrative depth and complexity to the series. The storyline is inspired by Meredith E. Bagby’s book The New Guys, which details the experiences of these astronauts, who faced both internal and external challenges as they prepared for their historic journeys.

The series will also explore the aftermath of the tragic Challenger disaster in 1986, which saw the space shuttle disintegrate shortly after launch, killing all seven crew members. Ride, who flew in 1983, later served on the presidential commission investigating the disaster, showing her critical role in addressing one of NASA’s darkest moments. Her contributions, which involved identifying technical failures, outline her significance not only as an astronaut but also as a crucial investigator in the aftermath.

The series is a portrait of an era of cultural shifts within NASA and the space race. The inclusion of diverse astronauts was a move towards breaking the conventional barriers of race, gender, and sexuality in space exploration, reflecting broader societal changes at the time.

Kristen Stewart Critiques the Film Industry’s Superficial Strides in Gender Dynamics

Kristen Stewart, acclaimed for her role in Love Lies Bleeding, candidly critiqued what she perceives as the superficial progress in the film industry regarding gender dynamics. Stewart, who rose to fame through her work in major studio projects and has since become a prominent figure in independent cinema, challenges the notion that Hollywood has adequately addressed its longstanding patriarchal issues. During the interview with Porter magazine, she said:

“[There’s a] thinking that we can check these little boxes, and then do away with the patriarchy, and how we’re all made of it. It’s easy for them to be like, ‘Look what we’re doing. We’re making Maggie Gyllenhaal’s movie! We’re making Margot Robbie’s movie!’ And you’re like, OK, cool. You’ve chosen four… And I’m in awe of those women, I love those women [but] it feels phony. If we’re congratulating each other for broadening perspective, when we haven’t really done enough, then we stop broadening.”

Stewart expresses skepticism towards the industry’s self-congratulatory stance on inclusivity, pointing out the minimal number of women-led projects that are highlighted as examples of progress. She argues that such selective acknowledgment does little to fundamentally change the entrenched patriarchal structure.


Love Lies Bleeding Review: A Wickedly Entertaining, Steroid-Fueled Queer Thriller

Jackie (Katy O’Brian) falls in love with Lou (Kristen Stewart) while she trains for a bodybuilding competition in Las Vegas.

Stewart is channeling her frustrations into a new creative venture as she prepares to direct her first feature film, The Chronology of Water. This project promises to be an intense and possibly unsettling exploration of deeply personal and challenging themes, including incest and the reclaiming of one’s voice and body.

“My movie is about incest and periods and a woman violently repossessing her voice and body, and it is, at times, hard to watch… but it’s gonna be a f*cking thrill ride. And I think that’s commercial, but I don’t think that I have any gauge on what that means,” she laughs. “I think people would want to see that, but then… I think maybe people wanna watch movies about, like, Jesus and dogs.”

Stewart’s move into directing is a significant step in her career. It also serves as a form of artistic self-expression and an avenue to address the issues she critiques about the industry.

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