Weightlessness becomes the sound stage setting for innovation or absurdity
From “Star Trek” to “Star Wars,” “Interstellar” to “2001,” outer space has been the primary setting for a wide range of science fiction and action movies over the years. Still, never has a film actually been shot in the infinite frontier. Sure we have footage from the stars (even from the moon and Mars), but no feature film has been bold enough to actually construct a full-length narrative with principal photography occurring in space.
All that is about to change, as Deadline Hollywood recently reported that actor Tom Cruise has been in conversation with tech wizard Elon Musk‘s SpaceX to shoot a movie entirely in space… the first feature to ever have its production take place outside planet Earth.
As of right now, details are quite spotty. All we know for sure is that Cruise is on board and so is Musk. The film will not be attached to any pre-existing Tom Cruise franchise and no studio has signed on to the project yet. Also, in typical Cruise fashion, the movie will likely fall into the action genre.
Because COVID-19 has more or less put the film industry on pause indefinitely, significant progress on the project will probably not begin until business is back to normal. Obviously, this movie will require an unprecedented amount of planning. Cruise will need to endure astronaut-like training to face (let alone act in) a zero gravity environment. The same goes for all of the supporting cast and crew members, none of whom have been announced yet.
The project will probably be insurmountably expensive, but with Musk, Cruise, and SpaceX (and by extension NASA) at the film’s back, they will certainly be able to raise the funds and attract major studio interest. A budget has not been estimated yet, but the film could easily end up being the most expensive production of all time. It depends on how many actors, crew members, and sets they need to prepare and transport to beyond the exosphere.
Fringe benefit or impossible to insure, an action stunt that creates headlines, if not much else
Even in his sixties, the eternally youthful Tom Cruise is a perfect pick to lead the first film shot in space. The actor still does his own extreme stunts and the past few “Mission: Impossible” movies saw him leaping from helicopters, hanging off the side of a moving airplane, and scaling the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. If any Hollywood persona has what it takes to perform in space, it is Cruise.
Meanwhile, Elon Musk—who recently had his first child, named X Æ A-12, with partner Grimes—is one of the greatest visionaries alive today. His SpaceX company is behind the electric-powered line of Tesla cars and it is currently planning a flight to the international space station with its innovative Crew Dragon capsule. Having Musk lend his expertise to the film industry will be a real treat.
Cruise is currently awaiting the release of his most recent film, “Top Gun: Maverick,” which has been pushed back from June to December due to the pandemic. The aviator-based action movie is a sequel to its 1986 predecessor, and Cruise stars alongside Jennifer Connelly, Val Kilmer, Jon Hamm, and others. Although Cruise has done copious action adventure films throughout his career, he’s somehow never done one set in space. Given his aptitude for practical stunts, it only makes sense that his first one is filmed there for real.
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