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Tom Cruise Vs. The Russians Is The New Space Race

The Space Race Is On, Again. First One To The Movies Wins

Heidi Lux
September 21 2021

It feels like we’ll never not be competing with Russia for who gets all of the space firsts. They beat us into space. We beat them to the moon. Now, they’ve beaten us to the movies.

In September of 2020, it was announced Tom Cruise would partner with NASA and Elon Musk’s SpaceX to partially film a movie in the International Space Station, which would’ve made it the first movie shot in space – unless the ISS astronauts are filming TikToks we don’t know about. The $200 million budget film would be directed by Doug Liman and launch Cruise into space on a SpaceX rocket in October 2021.

The Mission: Impossible franchise started with a helicopter getting flown through a train tunnel, which is basically like starting at a 99 on a scale of 1 to 10. How do you top flying a helicopter through a tunnel? You climb the world’s tallest building. How do you top that? You go into space. If he had started with something normal, like a high-speed motorcycle chase inside a dynamite factory, we wouldn’t be here right now.

Shortly after Tom Cruise’s space movie was announced, the Russians said they had their own plans to put movie stars in space. And now, the Russians have beat us to the punch (again). After a year of preparing the crew to shoot a movie in space at Moscow’s Yuri Gagarin Center for Cosmonaut Training, the Russian film The Challenge has received approval for the shoot. The crew will start their 12-day shoot in Earth’s orbit as early as October 5th. Channel One will live stream the event internationally. 

The Challenge, the story of a Russian doctor sent to the International Space Station to save the life of a cosmonaut, will be shot on the real International Space Station. The Challenge is directed by Klim Shipenko, who, for those of you unfamiliar with his work, directed Russia’s highest-grossing movie of all time, Son of a Rich. Actress Yulia Peresild will star in the history making movie.  

But the Russians don’t necessarily see it as a competitive venture. “We certainly would have preferred arriving at the International Space Station at the same time with Tom Cruise,” says Channel One CEO Konstantin Ernst told Variety. “We would have enjoyed shooting the film together much better.” 

Cruise’s project seems to be on hold as of now. Universal was rumored to back the project, but nothing has been confirmed. And delays on Mission: Impossible 7 means the actor may have not had time to prepare – and as anyone who’s taken theatre knows, an actor prepares.  

However, space travel is unpredictable and it’s possible an unexpected technical difficulty might also put The Challenge on hold, but as of now, it’s likely we’ll be saying, “The Russians beat us into space” once again.  

We look forward to the inevitable For All Mankind episode in which we were the ones to beat Russia to the space-movies.



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