Bra Makers' Moon-Suit History to Star in Warner Bros. Movie

International Latex Corporation (ILC) seamstresses are seen in 1967 sewing parts for the Apollo spacesuits worn on the moon.
International Latex Corporation (ILC) seamstresses are seen in 1967 sewing parts for the Apollo spacesuits worn on the moon. (Image credit: MIT Press)

From the studio that put Sandra Bullock in a spacesuit may now come a movie about the real-life seamstresses who traded sewing brassieres for stitching Neil Armstrong's lunar wardrobe.

Warner Bros. Pictures, which this fall will release Alfonso Cuarón's Bullock-and-George-Clooney-as-astronauts sci-fi film "Gravity," has hired screenwriter Richard Cordiner to adapt the non-fiction book, "Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo" for the big screen, the Hollywood news website Deadline reports. 

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin stands on the lunar surface during the first moon landing in 1969. (Image credit: Apollo 11/NASA)

"Spacesuit," by Nicholas de Monchaux, tells the history of the Apollo moonwalkers' outerwear and the company that created it: ILC, or International Latex Corporation — best known by its consumer brand of "Playtex." De Monchaux, an assistant professor of architecture and urban design at the University of California, Berkeley, researched the book while working for a year as a fellow at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. [NASA's New 'Buzz Lightyear' Spacesuit (Photos)]

"Each one of [the spacesuits] was completely handmade — this [was] an utterly couture garment," de Monchaux told National Public Radio at the time his book was released. "Twenty-one layers of all different kinds of material hand sewn by women who came off the bra and girdle assembly lines." 

"When you look at how Playtex put these suits together, it was this really kind of fabulous combination of, on the one hand some engineering expertise, but on the other hand, an enormous amount of informal knowledge," remarked de Monchaux. 

The cover art for "Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo" by Nicholas de Monchaux. The book is being adapted for a Warner Bros. Pictures' movie. (Image credit: MIT Press)

If the story of a group of seamstresses and their unlikely supervisors — a TV repairman-turned-spacesuit engineer and a former sewing machine salesman-turned-executive — seems devoid of the type of drama needed for a movie, "Spacesuit" recalls their triumph over the military-industrial complex to produce what in July 1969 became the most iconic outfit worn in the history of mankind. 

"One of the most remarkable stories is when Playtex was indeed successfully edged out of the [spacesuit selection] process at one point in 1965 and then battled its way back into a six week competition between three companies that would produce the final suit that would walk on the moon," de Monchaux told NPR's "Science Friday" in 2011. 

The screenplay for "Spacesuits" is Cordiner's first script in a two-film deal with Warner Bros. A brand strategist for a San Francisco advertising agency, Cordiner's spec script for a documentary about the making of the classic Steven Spielberg movie "Jaws" drew the studio's attention. 

"Still can't believe I'll help tell this incredible story ... such an honor," Cordiner wrote on Twitter on Wednesday (May 22), referring to "Spacesuits." 

If the project reaches theaters, it will not be the first time that Warner Bros. has borrowed from space history for a movie. The studio distributed the 1983 film adaptation of Tom Wolfe's "The Right Stuff" about the original Mercury astronauts and backed the 2000 stateside release of "The Dish" about Australia's contribution to the Apollo 11 moon landing

Warner Bros. and Clint Eastwood acquired the film rights to astronaut Neil Armstrong's authorized biography, "First Man," by historian James Hansen in 2003, but then let the option expire four years later. 

Follow on Facebook and on Twitter at @collectSPACE. Copyright 2013 All rights reserved.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Robert Z. Pearlman Editor, Contributor

Robert Pearlman is a space historian, journalist and the founder and editor of, an online publication and community devoted to space history with a particular focus on how and where space exploration intersects with pop culture. Pearlman is also a contributing writer for and co-author of "Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space” published by Smithsonian Books in 2018. He previously developed online content for the National Space Society and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, helped establish the space tourism company Space Adventures and currently serves on the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society, the advisory committee for The Mars Generation and leadership board of For All Moonkind. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S. Space Camp Hall of Fame in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2021, he was honored by the American Astronautical Society with the Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History.