The Race to Shoot the First Movie in Space 


A look into the competition between Russia and the U.S. as they rush to be the first to shoot a full movie in space.

    In May of 2020, Tom Cruise announced he would be collaborating with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and with NASA to shoot the first narrative feature film to be shot in space ever on the ISS. This would make cinematic and world history.

    Several months after Cruise’s announcement, Roscosmos announced they would also be filming a movie aboard the ISS. The name of the film will be The Challenge and it will be based around the event where a Russian astronaut suffers cardiac arrest on a spacewalk and needs emergency surgery. 

    After failing to be the first to walk on the moon, Russia put in the effort to be the first to shoot a movie in space. In May of 2021, Roscosmos announced the cast for the movie. They chose four actors who had no previous experience in space training, and would begin said training in Jun. 2021.

    Little has been revealed concerning Cruise’s movie, as a title hasn’t even been released yet, the plot has been kept under wraps, and no cast has been announced. The only detail that is known is that it’s going to be an action movie. 

    Shooting was scheduled to begin in Oct. 2021, but it’s unclear when shooting will actually start for Cruise’s movie. Regardless, Russia jumped the gun and began filming on Oct. 5 and returned to Earth on Oct. 17, winning the title of having been the first to shoot a movie entirely in space.

    While Russia is considered to be the first to shoot a movie in space, they’re actually not. In Apr. 1984, The Dream is Alive was partially shot in space. The difference is that no actors, directors, or cinematographers went into space; it was shot by real astronauts. 

    Still, Russia filmed a full length movie entirely in space, which has never been done before. The U.S. and Russia have been battling between a number of “firsts” in space, and it seems like Russia won this time.