Today’s Space Frenzy: The First Movie Filmed in Space!


Actress Yulia Peresild said of her planned space flight, “I am not afraid.” Credit: Andrey Shelepin/Roscosmos, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Sarah Tse, General

Many firsts have been achieved in the previous decade or so when it comes to outer space. Last week, however, a very special and quite unusual first was accomplished. Russian actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko were sent into orbit and successfully reached the International Space Station on October 5th. Their goal: to film the very first feature-length film ever shot in space. 


The Challenge: Space’s Grey’s Anatomy?

Peresild and Shipenko’s project is calledThe Challenge and is set to release in 2022. The pair have just 12 days to shoot the necessary scenes before they return back to Earth. Veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, who accompanied them on their journey to the ISS, will not return back with them. Instead, the pair will return with Oleg Novitskiy, who arrived at the station last April. 

The Challenge will use approximately 40 minutes of the footage recorded in space. The film surrounds a surgeon (played by Peresild) who is sent to the ISS on an emergency mission to save the life of a cosmonaut aboard. 


Preparations Necessary

Neither Yulia Peresild nor Klim Shipenko had any experience in aerospace engineering prior to their selection for the trip, so safety training wasn’t taken lightly for the duo. Their training started in June. This included emergency training and basic precautions necessary for a successful trip. 

As one might expect, the actress and director’s lack of experience caused mixed emotions among the Russian Space Federation. Sergei Krikalev, one of the most respected cosmonauts in the country, was among a group of associates with the federation who reportedly protested the mission. 

Thankfully, the emergency training Peresild and Shipenko received was not put into motion on the trip out. We can only hope that after they finish filming they will have another successful and safe journey back. 


Mission: Impossible Star Beat to the Stars

Though it is Russia who will claim this first in space, it has been known since 2020 that Mission: Impossibleand Top Gun star Tom Cruise was looking towards filming a movie in space with director Doug Liman. This project is rumored to be in development now with Elon Musk’s SpaceX program, but as of now, it is hard to tell as NASA has announced that no trip like Peresild and Shipenko’s is in the works. 

Shipenko, the director of The Challenge, told news channel Russia One, “There was certain competitiveness involved. It was making us speed up the production, the preparation process. Having a strong opponent you can compete with really matters. The fact that Tom Cruise is keen on his space project made him a strong competitor.” 

Tom Cruise isn’t the only Western actor setting his sights on the sky. William Shatner, Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, is set to join Jeff Bezos’ space company, Blue Origin, in space this week. The 90-year-old may not be the first actor in space this month, but he will be the oldest person to ever travel there! His flight will last just around 10 minutes and he will peak at around 66 miles up before landing back in West Texas. 


Missions on Missions

Space seems to be the main focus of many large companies at the moment. Whether the missions come from SpaceX, Blue Origin, or NASA, they just seem to keep piling on. This means that exhilarating new discoveries may start to pile up as well. We don’t know what space “first” will be achieved next, but whatever it is, it won’t be the last that we see in our lifetimes.