Based on a true story, The Dish chronicles a giant satellite dish located in a sheep paddock in Parkes, Australia that assisted in transmitting communications and television signal broadcasts between Apollo 11 and NASA in the summer of 1969. The dish is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and was the only dish in 1969 powerful enough to capture the live camera broadcasts from the historic landing on the moon on July 20, 1969. Running the dish are four quirky characters: Cliff Burton (Sam Neill), the dish's supervisor who smokes too much and pines over his dead wife; Mitch (Kevin Harrington), the nerdy dish technician in love with the local town girl; Glen (Tom Long), the "chip-on-his-shoulder" dish operator who spends most of the film whining; and Al Burnett (Patrick Warburton), the stuffy NASA agent who wears thick glasses and carries the nurturing tone of Barbara Walters. These four knuckleheads, during Apollo's flight, overcome such obstacles as political ass-kissing, power outages, puppy love, gale force winds, and ridiculous moment-of-purpose speeches in order to not look like a bunch of Australian outback hicks working in the middle of a sheep paddock.
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The film is expected to continue without Mendes' involvement.