Shannon Lucio: ‘The Right Stuff’ is a human story

Shannon Lucio plays Louise Shepard in "The Right Stuff."
DISNEY/ NATGEO/ GENE PAGE

By Lizeth Cadena, MWN

“The Right Stuff,” now streaming on Disney +, is set during the Cold War, when the newly formed NASA chose seven of the military’s best test pilots to become astronauts. Metro spoke with Shannon Lucio about new series that focuses on early days of the U.S. space program. 

What surprised you the most when you started filming this series?

First of all, I would like to say that it was impressive to realize how many skills these men had to have and learn. This was literally a space race and if they hadn’t had courage and mental strength, these guys would have gone crazy.

Beyond all of this, I think what really fascinated me about this story was seeing the other side, the human one. Seeing the consequences of these men being chosen for this project. And it wasn’t just a personal effort, it was also a family one. And just like them, their wives and their families also suffered and had to overcome a lot of trials. So, in the end, we discover the heroes, but also those complex and a little bit dark beings.

Speaking of families. You play Louise Shepard, the wife of one of these astronauts. How did you shape her personality considering that she is a real character?

I think it was quite a challenge to bring this woman to life for two main reasons — first, there wasn’t much information about her that I could work with, and second, I thought from the beginning that she shouldn’t be the cliché wife (let’s keep in mind that we are talking about a very conservative era). And well, in the end, she turned out to be this luminous and very much at home woman, but who has become shyer and shyer due to family problems. Inconveniences grew with the arrival of the NASA project.

DISNEY/ NATGEO/ GENE PAGE

Along with the space race and the human side of these men, this story also talks about women’s rights. Why is that important?

I think the generations should see this. Women’s lives were not the same in the 50s and 60s, because they were quite relegated, forced to be in the house and keep quiet. It is good to know our history so as not to repeat it, but at the same time, it is beautiful to know how much we have evolved in these years.

This series makes us learn, reflect, but above all, understand that we can and must do more for our rights as women. Curiously, your biggest challenge in this production was not linked to the professional aspect.

I loved impersonating this woman and I think that’s why its construction flowed so much, although of course, like any project, it implied a rough and deep acting work. However, while I was trying to give my body and mind to this housewife so she could keep her family afloat, I had to stay away from my own. And truth be told, it was quite difficult to be away from my husband and son. So, while filming I had to move between Orlando and New York. Plus, I have a sister that I also take care of, so I felt the weight of the distance three times as much.

A funny anecdote about your time in this series was how you came to it. Tell us about it. 

The truth is that I found out about this project because my husband was preparing an audition because he wanted one of the characters in “The Right Stuff.” That’s when I met Louise and I was fascinated with her. You know love at first sight doesn’t happen often, and it doesn’t happen often in acting either. So after feeling that chemistry I knew I had to go after her. I wrote to my agent, I asked to find me the audition, and the truth is that for over a month they didn’t call me, but finally they did, I pulled out my claws and I got the part.

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