Russia has once again won a space race, this time against Hollywood. The country has announced plans to shoot director Klim Shipenko’s next film The Challenge for twelve days in space, beating Tom Cruise’s untitled passion project. While the latter film currently does not have a shooting schedule, The Challenge’s record-breaking shoot might be just around the corner.
If everything goes according to plan, The Challenge’s production crew could be lifting off on October 5th. Over the past year, the team has been training at the Yuri Gagarin Center for Cosmonaut Training in Moscow, with the facility approving the shoot their approval on September 16th. While space travel is often unpredictable and technical difficulties before the launch could arise, there’s a good chance they’ll be able to tout the achievement before the Mission: Impossible star.
Speaking of which, Cruise’s space ambitions are not yet squashed. A studio that is willing to pay the minimum budget of $200 million is yet to confirm the project, despite rumors that Universal would pick up the tab. Despite this uncertainty, the film does have the backing of SpaceX and NASA. Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman is also attached to helm the project, who last talked about the project in January. Needless to say, the project won’t be able to meet The Challenge.
Many could consider the battle between Hollywood and Russia to shoot a movie in the cosmos a modern-day space race. However, the country’s Channel One CEO Konstantin Ernst disagrees. “We certainly would have preferred arriving at the International Space Station at the same time with Tom Cruise,” he said in a statement to Variety, “we would have enjoyed shooting the film together much better.” He also compared a future project to 1972’s joint American and Soviet Union space mission.
The launch of the Challenge crew is expected to take place on October 5th. Channel One will live stream the event internationally, with Ernst calling it “a breathtaking reality show and a chance to attract millions of TV viewers.” The Challenge currently does not have a release date. As for Cruise, moviegoers won’t be able to see him again until May 27th, 2022 when Top Gun: Maverick finally arrives in theaters.