Russian actress Yulia Peresild will launch for the International Space Station tomorrow, beating Tom Cruise to be the first actor to film a movie in space, after his flight, originally scheduled for this month, was pushed back to 2022.
The 37-year-old will be joined by director Klim Shipenko, after both went through months of training, including centrifuge and zero gravity flight tests.
The pair will launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome on the Soyuz MS-19 crew capsule at 09:55 BST (04:55 ET) with cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov.
The trio were cleared as medically fit to fly last week, as were the backup crew of cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev, director Alexey Dudin and actor Alena Mordovina.
Shipenko and Peresild will spend 12 days in space, filming the movie that will also include the Roscosmos cosmonauts on the station as extras.
Tom Cruise is rumoured to be flying to the ISS in 2022, as part of a $200 million project supported by Elon Musk-owned SpaceX and NASA.
Russian actress Yulia Peresild will launch for the International Space Station tomorrow, beating Tom Cruise to be the first actor to film a movie in space
Tom Cruise is rumoured to be flying to the ISS in 2022, as part of a $200 million project supported by Elon Musk-owned SpaceX and NASA
Actress Yulia Peresild, left, director Klim Shipenko right, and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov (centre) are the members of the prime crew of Soyuz MS-19 spaceship
CHALLENGE: THE FIRST MOVIE SHOT IN SPACE
The movie is being produced by space agency Roscosmos, Channel One and film studio Yellow, Black and White.
It is called Challenge, and the space-based segments will feature actress Yulia Peresild in the lead role.
She will appear alongside Klim Shipenko, who will also direct the film.
Serving cosmonauts, Anton Shkaplerov, Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov will also appear in the film.
It isn’t clear yet when the movie will be released or whether the Earth-based segments have been filmed.
The film focuses on a doctor, played by Peresild, that has never been involved in the space program or has any interest in space travel.
That is until she is called on to travel to the International Space Station to save the life of a cosmonaut.
There is a suggestion the cosmonaut she has to save is also a friend.
Cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov will also assist in the ‘rescue’ operation.
The movie tells the story of a doctor who has never had involvement with the space program before, but travels to the ISS to save the life of a cosmonaut.
Director Klim Shipenko, who will also act in the movie during his fortnight living and working on the orbital platform, previously described the movie as ‘an experiment,’ adding there is ‘nobody to get advice from.’
‘There is not a single cameraman who could answer how to work with light from a porthole,’ he said, of the issues filming in such an unusual environment.
It has been provisionally titled Challenge, and is a joint production between Roscosos and Russia’s Channel One – which is also producing a documentary on the crew’s training and preparations for launch.
Commander Anton Shkaplerov, who will remain on the station until Spring 2022, will be playing the role of a cosmonaut who helps the character of Yulia Peresild, who is playing the adventurous doctor, save the cosmonaut who needs help
‘I won’t be starring in it but still I will need to figure out how a movie is produced in such an unusual place as outer space,’ Shkaplerov said.
Challenge is co-produced by Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency, with the active involvement of Russian cosmonauts on the station.
Cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov, who are already on the space station, will also assist in the ‘rescue’ operation and appear in the movie.
Shipenko and Peresild will have to manage everything themselves, including camera work, lighting, make up and production efforts while filming on the ISS.
Shipenko said of the effort: ‘some things will work out and some things will not’.
Peresild and crew are travellng to the ISS six decades after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit Earth
Actress Yulia Peresild, left, director Klim Shipenko’ right, will spend 12 days filming on the station, but cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov (centre) will be there for six months
The actress (let) and director (right) will launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome on the Soyuz MS-19 crew capsule at 09:55 BST (04:55 ET) with cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov (centre)
‘It will not be on the same level as on Earth, but we will do our best. We are ready for it,’ said Peresild.
‘It is a bit too late to be afraid because we’ve come so far, there is Baikonur ahead and a lot of things (to do) and to be honest, there is just no time left for fear.’
They will reach orbit nine minutes after launch at 09:55 BST (04:55 ET) tomorrow morning, and will approach the ISS in a double-loop pattern.
It will take about three hours and 17 minutes for the spaceship to reach the ISS, and 12 days later Shipenko and Peresild will return to Earth to film the rest of the movie.
They will launch on a Soyuz-2.1a rocket, already installed on the launch pad at Baikonur Cosmodrome for the Soyuz MS-19 Mission
They are launching as part of ISS Expedition 66, with main crew member, actress Yulia Peresild, playing the part of a doctor in a new movie called Challenge
Crew member and film director Klim Shipenko will act in the movie, work on make up and produce the scenes in space
Crew member and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov won’t be staring in the movie, but will play an active part and be seen in some scenes
Shipenko, who is 6 feet 2 inches tall, said his height makes training inside the spacecraft – and the upcoming trip – ‘not very comfortable’.
But accommodations will be made in the future, he said, adding: “It is okay. I will fly now as it is, but when we do the sequel about travel to Mars, then they promise there will be a better seat.’
Peresild is a stage and film actress who briefly studied philology in the city of Pskov before moving to Moscow to pursue acting.
She made her screen debut in the TV series Land in 2003 and had her breakthrough in 2010 with a supporting role in The Edge, a film directed by Aleksei Uchitel, with whom Peresild has two daughters.
Shipenko (right), who is 6 feet 2 inches tall, said his height makes training inside the spacecraft – and the upcoming trip – ‘not very comfortable’
The announcement of the Russian film amounts to a space movie race with the West, competing against a project by NASA, Elon Musk and Tom Cruise, which will also be shot at the ISS (pictured) in October
In 2015, Peresild played the real-life Soviet sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko in the biographical war film Battle for Sevastopol.
Last year, NASA and SpaceX confirmed that it will be teaming up with Cruise to make a Hollywood movie on the ISS. He was originally due to travel to the station this month, but that has been postponed until sometime in 2022.
When he does launch, Cruise will travel in a SpaceX Crew Dragon ship, similar to the one that put the first all civilian, Inspiration4 crew into Earth orbit for three days.
Very little is know about the US film other than the fact Cruise will front it, with director Doug Liman joining him on the ISS to film the space-based scenes.
EXPLAINED: THE $100 BILLION INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION SITS 250 MILES ABOVE THE EARTH
The International Space Station (ISS) is a $100 billion (£80 billion) science and engineering laboratory that orbits 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.
It has been permanently staffed by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts since November 2000.
Crews have come mainly from the US and Russia, but the Japanese space agency JAXA and European space agency ESA have also sent astronauts.
The International Space Station has been continuously occupied for more than 20 years and has been expended with multiple new modules added and upgrades to systems
Research conducted aboard the ISS often requires one or more of the unusual conditions present in low Earth orbit, such as low-gravity or oxygen.
ISS studies have investigated human research, space medicine, life sciences, physical sciences, astronomy and meteorology.
The US space agency, NASA, spends about $3 billion (£2.4 billion) a year on the space station program, with the remaining funding coming from international partners, including Europe, Russia and Japan.
So far 244 individuals from 19 countries have visited the station, and among them eight private citizens who spent up to $50 million for their visit.
There is an ongoing debate about the future of the station beyond 2025, when it is thought some of the original structure will reach ‘end of life’.
Russia, a major partner in the station, plans to launch its own orbital platform around then, with Axiom Space, a private firm, planning to send its own modules for purely commercial use to the station at the same time.
NASA, ESA, JAXA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) are working together to build a space station in orbit around the moon, and Russia and China are working on a similar project, that would also include a base on the surface.