Russia is racing to become the first nation to shoot a movie in space, after it announced plans to send an actress and a director to the International Space Station (ISS) – 250 miles above earth – in October.
State news agency Ria Novosti said on Thursday that 35-year-old Yulia Peresild would star in the new movie, which will be shot in space and directed by 37-year-old Klim Shipenko.
Titled “Vyzov” (“The Challenge”), the movie will tell the story of a surgeon who has to operate on a sick cosmonaut in space because his medical condition prevents him from returning to earth to be treated.
Peresild and Shipenko, who are well-known in Russia, were selected after the country’s space agency, Roscosmos, opened a competition for applicants in November.
Peresild has appeared in a number of Russian films and TV series, while Shipenko’s 2020 movie “Serf” was one of Russia’s highest-grossing films.
Race to space
The timing of the plans puts Russia neck-and-neck with a US team of actor Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman, who revealed in 2020 that they were working together on a movie to be filmed in space.
The as-yet-untitled movie, which has no release date, is being developed in collaboration with Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Cruise will travel to space, where he will be based at the ISS, according to Deadline.
The ISS is a multibillion-dollar laboratory that orbits Earth.
It was launched in 1998 and built as a collaboration between the US, Russia and 14 other countries.
Peresild and Shipenko will need to undergo rigorous training before traveling to space to film “The Challenge.”
From next month, along with two understudies, they will begin a preparation regime that will include training flights in zero gravity and parachute training.
They will head to the ISS from the Baikonur cosmodrome spaceport in Kazakhstan on the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft.
The movie, which has no released date yet, is being developed in collaboration with Roscosmos, broadcaster Channel One and studio Yellow, Black and White.
CNN’s Marianne Garvey contributed to this report.