Which country will shoot the first movie in outer space? Russia is now “in a race with the United States to claim the achievement,” reports NBC News.
36-year-old actress Yulia Peresild and 37-year-old director Klim Shepenko will complete Russia’s cosmonaut-training program, ultimately taking two of the three seats aboard the October launch of Russia’s Soyuz mission to the International Space Station:
The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, announced Thursday that it had selected its crew to headline the film, which will be called “Challenge…”
Very little is known about the plot, which in many ways seems secondary to the spectacle. When Russia announced the project last year, Konstantin Ernst, the head of Russia’s Channel One — which is working with Roscosmos on the film — said that it would not be a science fiction film, but a realistic depiction of near-term space travel. “It’s a movie about how a person in no way connected with space exploration, due to various reasons and personal debt, ends up a month later in orbit,” Ernst said in a September 2020 interview. “That’s all I can tell you….”
The decision to fill the October Soyuz flight with a movie crew comes at an uncertain time for Russia’s space program… In October, NASA paid for its final flight aboard Soyuz… Russia is now left to look for other means to help subsidize launch costs. One of those obvious sources — beyond funding from the state television network Channel One — is space tourism. Another Soyuz will launch in December, and rather than fill those seats with Russian cosmonauts, Moscow announced Thursday that two Japanese space tourists will take the ride.