Russia has a number of firsts to its credit when it comes to gallivanting into space. And in following the trend, the country’s renowned actress Yulia Peresild recently arrived on the International Space Station following a three-hour flight from Earth, beating Tom Cruise to be the first actor to film a movie in space.
The 37-year-old will be joined by director Klim Shipenko and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov on the first-of-its-kind cinematic space mission. The trio launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome on the Soyuz MS-19 crew capsule at 09:55 BST (04:55 ET), docking with the space station just over three hours later at 13:22 BST.
To prepare for their sojourn, Peresild and Shipenko went through months of training, including centrifuge and zero-gravity flight tests. They will reportedly spend 12 days in space, filming the movie that will also include the Roscosmos cosmonauts on the station as extras.
Commenting on the movie mission, Peresild said in an earlier translated Instagram post that the crew was ready. “Even though we are, of course, nervous,” she said. “And that’s why we support each other all the time. No one had this experience yet. It’s always difficult and scary to be pioneers, but it’s very interesting!”
The film, titled ‘The Challenge,’ will have Peresild play a Russian doctor sent to the station to treat a critically ill cosmonaut. Shipenko will be responsible for lighting, makeup, and camera operation, while 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 Peresild. Cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov, who are already on the space station, will also assist in the shooting and appear in the movie.
Commenting further on the shooting schedule, Peresild said, “This job would’ve been enormous even on Earth. We’ll have ten days. But it won’t be like ten regular 12-hour shooting days, rather like two to three hours a day, when the cosmonauts will be able to work with us. The rest of the time, Klim and I will be shooting with only me in the frame. Our only task out there is shooting the film without interfering with the crew.”
Remarkably, this is the first Soyuz launch to the International Station to only include Russian nationals and the first without a NASA astronaut since September 2015. Much like Perasild, Tom Cruise is also rumored to be flying to the ISS in 2022 as part of a $200 million project supported by Elon Musk-owned SpaceX and NASA.[Via – CBS News]