Kristen Stewart Is Playing Real-Life Queer Astronaut Sally Ride

As if outer space could get any gayer, Kristen Stewart is making an astronaut show.

The Love Lies Bleeding star is set to star in the upcoming limited series The Challenger as real-life queer astronaut Sally Ridea mainstay of the Space Shuttle program. In 1983, Ride made history as the first American woman to go into space. She graduated from NASA’s astronaut class of 1978, the first class to include women and people of color. Described by her family as a private person, Ride’s sexuality became public knowledge when her 2012 obituary named Tam O’Shaughnessy as her partner of 27 years.

In addition to starring in The Challenger, Deadline reports that Stewart will also executive produce the series alongside actress Kyra Sedgwick and iconic director Steven Spielberg’s production company, Amblin Partners. According to the outlet, Amazon MGM is close to acquiring the rights for the show, although it is officially still on the market.

Sedgwick, who has been developing The Challenger since 2017, told Deadline that Stewart became involved thanks to her passion for Ride’s story. While the Twilight alum has played queer icons like Joan Jett and Princess Diana in the past, this role marks her first foray into TV.

“(Kristen) has never done television, but when she read (The Challenger) 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. “(…) Who better to play Sally Ride than one of the great actors of her generation? As they say in Hollywood, passion wins the day.”

I, for one, am already seated for sapphic astronaut television. In the meantime, leave it to Stewart to continue subverting what it means to tell a queer story in Hollywood.

“To imply that ‘our’ existence (as queer people) can be a genre of its own is dangerous. I don’t want to perpetuate that,” she told Them in a recent cover story. “We have so much unearthing to do — so much unabashed self-exploration and self-touch. We need to touch base, dude. It’s the only way to tell stories: from the inside.”

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