Sunday, October 17, 2021

Russia to shoot first full-length film in space, ‘The Challenge’

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MOSCOW – The first satellite in space, the first dog, the first man, the first woman and now, if all goes according to plan, the first movie.

Russia took a further step on Thursday to claim another record in space when a commission of medical and safety experts approved a plan for an actress and a director to take off early next month to film the first full-length fiction film in space.

The film, called “The Challenge,” tells of a doctor who was sent to the International Space Station on short notice to save the life of a cosmonaut. If filmed as scheduled next month, it would surpass Hollywood in low Earth orbit.

POT Announced Last year Tom Cruise plans to film at the station. The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, then announced its cinematic ambition.

At a press conference in Moscow before leaving for the release, the Russian actress, the director, and their stuntmen – both roles have backups, read a last-minute health issue derailing the project – enthusiastically spoke about a new one. frontier in show business. They said they hoped to portray weightlessness like never before in fiction and, through the skills of a professional actress, the emotions of floating freely and seeing Earth from the skies.

“For the first two seconds it’s scary,” Yulia Peresild, who is on her way to becoming the leading actress in space, said of her training on an airplane flight that briefly created a microgravity environment. “After that, it’s beautiful.”

Ms. Peresild and Klim Shipenko, the lead crew director, plan to fly roundtrip in a Soyuz capsule and spend 10 days filming on the Russian segment of the space station. It’s unclear when NASA plans to start its space film project, but Russian officials were concerned enough to change the mission schedule to accommodate the couple’s hasty launch.

Takeoff is scheduled for October. 5. Approval Thursday by a commission at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center cleared a major hurdle for the film. Like the character she will play, 37-year-old Ms. Peresild received training that began this spring after auditioning. He has no experience in space or aviation.

The daughter of a painter and kindergarten teacher, Ms. Peresild had already achieved stardom in Russia. He has acted in blockbusters, art films and television series, and has performed for years at the Malaya Bronnaya Theater in Moscow.

The Russian plan to send an actress into space follows a series of non-professional flights this year, including those by Amazon owner Jeff Bezos in a rocket built by his company Blue Origin, and four passengers in a capsule made by Elon Musk. company SpaceX, which launched on Wednesday.

For the Russian film, Anton Shkaplerov, an experienced cosmonaut, will pilot the three-seat Soyuz spacecraft. All members of the mission trained for in-flight emergencies with the accident-prone Russian space team, either in the capsule or the Russian segment of the station, which has been leaking air, and earlier this year gave a reverse spin in orbit after thrusters in a The new Russian module failed.

“I am not afraid,” Peresild said of his space flight, although he also said that “fear is normal.”

Ms. Peresild admitted that she will face limitations when filming in space. She will do her own makeup, for example, and work without lighting or sound equipment.

Shipenko said her goal was to bring the experience of space to life through the eyes of an ordinary person, the medical character played by Peresild. “We want each person to be a bit like our hero,” he said, experiencing through his performance the sensation of traveling through space. Three cosmonauts will play small roles.

Filming extended scenes of a weightless actress will be a first for filmmaking, said Anton Dolin, film critic and editor-in-chief of Film Art, a film critic magazine. But after a movie claims the title of the first shot in space, he said, and the novelty wears off, it’s unclear whether future projects “would justify the costs and risks.”

Astronauts and cosmonauts, of course, have been filming documentaries for decades. The Apollo lunar missions pioneered live television broadcasts.

There have been modest and earlier attempts to film fiction in space, said Robert Pearlman, editor of CollectSpace.com, a space history news site. Richard Garriott, an entrepreneur who flew as a tourist in 2008, filmed a seven-minute short called “Apogee of fear, “With astronauts and cosmonauts acting rigidly. A 1984 Soviet film,” Return from Orbit, “included scenes filmed in space.

But “The Challenge” would be the first fictional feature film shot in space and “the first to take an actor and director into space for the purpose of doing so,” Pearlman said.

And that, he said, will come with “some bragging rights involved.”

Oleg Matsnev contributed reporting

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