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    Michelle Williams to play Christa McAuliffe in a movie about the Challenger explosion

    Michelle Williams to play Christa McAuliffe in a movie about the Challenger explosion

    Michelle Williams and Christa McAuliffe.
    Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; NASA via Associaed Press
    Michelle Williams and Christa McAuliffe.

    Michelle Williams is set to play astronaut Christa McAuliffe in a film about the 1986 Challenger space shuttle explosion, according to Deadline.

    “The Challenger” centers around the life story of McAuliffe, the Framingham native and New Hampshire high school teacher who was selected to be part of the crew on the space shuttle Challenger as part of NASA’s Teacher in Space Project in 1985. The shuttle launched from Cape Canaveral on Jan. 28, 1986, and exploded 73 seconds after takeoff, killing McAuliffe and the six other astronauts on board.

    Williams earned her fourth Oscar nomination for best supporting actress in “Manchester by the Sea” in 2016. She will next appear in “Venom,” the Sony film about the origin of Spider-Man’s nemesis, which hits theaters Friday.

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    According to Deadline, production on “The Challenger” will start next spring, but no release date has been announced. The film will be produced by John and Art Linson, of the Linson Company, and Ben Renzo, of Argent Pictures.

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    “We are more than humbled and extremely grateful for the opportunity to help tell the story of Christa McAuliffe and the Challenger mission,” Renzo told Deadline. “Christa McAuliffe’s legacy deserves the strength, courage, experience, and humanity that Michelle Williams brings to the role.

    “The entire Argent team is honored and eager to responsibly capture and share the events and personal journeys of those surrounding this important historical moment with audiences around the world to help remember and further appreciate the sacrifices Christa and rest of the Challenger crew made to further our journey into space.”

    Kevin Slane can be reached at kevin.slane@boston.com.