Russia will shoot first feature on location at the International Space Station
Russia has embarked on a mission to shoot a new film at the International Space Station. Actor Yulia Peresild, director Klim Shipenko and veteran cosmonaut Anto Shkaplerov were sent into space for 12 days to make the world’s first feature-length movie in orbit, which seems likely to be finalised before a similar Hollywood project coordinated by Tom Cruise, NASA, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
“I feel like I’m dreaming,” explained Peresild – one of 3,000 applicants who applied for the role – during a brief televised interaction with Mission Control in Moscow. “We’ve been waiting for this for such a long time,” the gravity-defying Shipenko echoed, “and indeed now we feel like we are in a dream.” Both Peresild and Shipenko are no strangers to success within the Russian filmmaking community. The actress has starred in The Prisoner and The Battle for Sevastopol, and won several awards for her role in The Edge. Shipenko has directed, produced and acted in a variety of projects, and his 2019 film Serf set a Russian box office record.
The pair’s upcoming work Vyzov – or The Challenge – is a collaboration between Russian space agency Roscosmos, the state-owned Channel One Russia, and the country’s Yellow, Black and White Studios. While the film’s plot and budget have been largely kept under wraps, Roscosmos confirmed that the narrative will centre on a female surgeon who is dispatched into space to save the life of an astronaut.
The Soviet programme sent the first satellite, man, woman, and dog into space, and their latest feat continues a long tradition of trailblazing activity beyond the physical limitations of our home planet. Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, declared: “Space is where we became pioneers, where despite everything we maintain a fairly confident position… Such missions that help advertise our achievements and space exploration, in general, are great for the country.”
Hollywood were working on a similarly daring project with Tom Cruise and Elon Musk. Cruise is expected to travel into space with director Doug Liman on board SpaceX’s Axiom Space Crew Dragon capsule, and Universal Pictures pledged an estimated USD200 million for the production. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced his excitement to be working alongside the Mission: Impossible actor in May, and also commented: “We need popular media to inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists to make NASA’s ambitious plans a reality.”
William Shatner – the American actor known for his role as Captain Kirk in the popular Star Trek series – is set to fly to space on a mission with Jeff Bezos’s aerospace company Blue Origin later this week. As billionaires across the globe continue to invest in space exploration, the likelihood of specialist film production services emerging for location shooting beyond Earth is rapidly increasing.
“For me, space is alluring, welcoming and has no boundaries,” muses Peresild. “It was difficult [in some ways] psychologically, physically and emotionally – but I think once we achieve our goals, all of that will not seem so hard, and we will remember everything with a smile.”
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