Interview: For All Mankind’s Chris Agos on playing legendary Buzz Aldrin

Enter a captivating “what if” take on history from Golden Globe nominee and Emmy Award winner, Ronald D. Moore. Told through the lives of astronauts, engineers and their families, “For All Mankind” imagines a world in which the global space race never ended and the space program remained the cultural centerpiece of America’s hopes and dreams. Image Courtesy Apple TV+
Enter a captivating “what if” take on history from Golden Globe nominee and Emmy Award winner, Ronald D. Moore. Told through the lives of astronauts, engineers and their families, “For All Mankind” imagines a world in which the global space race never ended and the space program remained the cultural centerpiece of America’s hopes and dreams. Image Courtesy Apple TV+ /

What did Chris Agos have to say about playing Buzz Aldrin on Apple TV+’s For All Mankind? He talked to Show Snob all about it.

For All Mankind is well into its first season, and boy, it’s been one hell of a ride. There is so much to love and adore about the show, particularly with how they took an alternate-history concept and made it optimistic. It’s not the typical alt-history series that borders on gloomy, depressing, and miserable.

Show Snob had the privilege of speaking with Chris Agos, who plays the legendary Buzz Aldrin on Apple TV+’s For All Mankind. He had plenty to say about taking on such an important role, and what sort of preparation he put in for it. Considering Buzz Aldrin is still alive, we can only imagine the type of pressure he must have been feeling.

Agos was a pleasure to speak with and gave me so much insight into not just the series, but the real-life history that it is based on. Check out our conversation below to see what else Agos had to say about Apple TV+’s For All Mankind. And be sure to check it out now on the streaming service (you’re missing out if you haven’t watched already!).

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Show Snob: What was it like playing such a legendary historical figure in history?

Chris Agos: I did feel pressure, but not from anyone else. It was pressure I brought on myself. I’ve never played a historical character before but I’ve thought about it a lot. Whenever I’ve thought about it, I’ve always imagined it’s important to be as accurate as possible and try to bring the essence of that person onto the screen as accurately as you can. But the other part of it is you also have to do justice to the script and tell the story that’s written on the page.

The combination of these two things is what makes it tricky. And in my case Buzz is very much alive, and he could watch the show, and in fact, I hope he does watch the show. But there was that extra layer of “Oh gosh, I better really know what I’m doing” because Buzz himself is likely to have an opinion about this. There was a fair amount of pressure but none of it came from my fellow castmates, directors, or Ron, or anything like that. They were very cool about everything and trusted us.

Show Snob: How did you prepare for the role?

Chris: Prepping was, well, there was a lot of stuff to learn. I grew up in the space shuttle era, which is a completely different era of space travel so I had to learn about the moon landing and the Apollo era. When it came time to prep for Buzz, I read everything he wrote. He’s written a couple of books since the moon landing. I watched as much as video as I could find of him–YouTube was great for archival footage. That was sort of the start of it and then obviously, we had a costume fitting where I put the suit on for the first time.

Once I strapped myself into the suit, it brought a bit more reality to it. Then the icing on the cake was once we got on set. Our amazingly knowledgeable and fantastically talented technical advisers were instrumental in helping me understand where Buzz was coming from, and what it was like to actually work with him during that time. So, there was as much as learning as I could cram into before shooting and then it was a whole new education once we were in the spacecraft, and working on all the technology on the set.

Show Snob: How did you land the role?

Chris: I had a garden variety audition. I was lucky enough to be called in by our casting director. They sent me the stuff but I wasn’t able to look at the whole script. However, I knew from the show’s pedigree and the fact that Ron Moore was involved, that this would be interesting. I did my homework, prepped for the audition, and wound up with the job!

Show Snob: What was it like to partake in a different version of history? It’s not exactly a bad alternative history–so what did you think of this particular take on it?

Chris: It was a nice change of pace because when I heard alternate history I thought what you thought–our future is always abysmal, something negative. Those are interesting stories to tell but I was excited to learn that this was going to take a more positive, inspirational spin on it, and I was looking forward to seeing where it would go.

When I was younger and growing up during the 80s and the space shuttle program, we were promised all this cool stuff. We had biodomes, and we thought we’d have moon bases and stuff like that, but none of that ever happened. For political reasons, or budgetary reasons, and everything. And so it was exciting to think about what could have happened and where we would be now if politics and money hadn’t gotten in the way of our space program and if we had continued to pump those resources into it. It was exciting to be able to imagine that story while living in the late 60s. Walking on all the sets everything is set in the late 60s into the 70s, and so it’s an interesting combination of living in the past world but imagining a future along with it.

For All Mankind
Season 1 | Episode 3 Michael Dorman and Sarah Jones in “For All Mankind,” premiering November 1 on Apple TV+. /

Show Snob: I recently watched the Apollo 11 documentary with remastered archival footage. Was that something you looked to for inspiration and knowledge?

Chris: That’s a great question, thank you for asking that one! So the documentary came out after the Neil, Buzz, and Michael Collins’ portion had wrapped up on the show and we were done. We were waiting to hear if we were going to be used later in the series but it came out and we decided we were all going to see it. We all went over to the movie theatre and caught it in IMAX which was literally mind-blowing. I had such high respect for the process, the colorization, everything they went through as they discovered, rescued, and reconditioned the footage. I think it gave us a renewed appreciation for what those astronauts actually went through.

I had no relationship to any of this at all because it happened before I was born so I never really thought about what they physically had to go through. Seeing that in the Apollo 11 documentary and then kind of, sort of living it in a very stripped-down way, these guys were in spacecrafts that were tin cans. They were small and very uncomfortable. The mission wasn’t to make sure the astronauts were well taken it was to make sure they were safe. The huge personal risk that those guys put themselves through for the sake of a much larger idea is something I wish we had more of these days.

Show Snob: What do you hope viewers take away from this version of the story?

Chris: What I was struck by in doing all the research and telling this story again was how incredibly unifying that event was for the entire world. They were literally rolling televisions into the streets in third world countries so people could watch this news event together. What was amazing about it was that it wasn’t a tragedy. People do that now, get together to watch the news but it’s almost always filled with horrible, bad things. This was not that, this was an amazingly positive thing. It was just nice to be reminded of that because I didn’t actually live through it. I just read about it. It was nice to see that again, I just feel like we don’t have enough of those things anymore. I would hope viewers be reminded that there are amazing things that humans are capable of that we can all rally behind and it’s not always bad news. The things that unify us don’t always have to be negative.

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And there you have it, For All Mankind fans! Agos had so much insight into the series, and better yet, what he hopes people will take away from it after watching. That was my favorite part of the interview and something that has resonated with me since speaking with him.

It’s also made watching For All Mankind a different experience! So, if you’re slacking and have yet to watch the series–don’t wait any longer! Check it out now on Apple TV+.

Have you seen For All Mankind yet? Tell us what you thought in the comments below!