Russia is saying not so fast to the plan to have Tom Cruise star in the first narrative action movie filmed in space. In what the Guardian is calling "space race 2," a Russian actor and director will set out for the International Space Station in early October, the same month Cruise is set to arrive with director Doug Liman. Russian space agency Roscosmos put out a call for "a real superhero to go to the stars" in November, shortly after NASA confirmed the plan involving Cruise. It laid out physical requirements, adding that acting experience wasn't a prerequisite. On Thursday, it announced actor Yulia Peresild and actor-director Klim Shipenko will begin training, including flights in zero gravity, by June 1. Actor Alena Mordovina and director Alexei Dudin will serve as "a reserve crew," per Reuters.
Peresild and Shipenko are set to fly to ISS on a Soyuz MS-19 craft on Oct. 5. The timing "suggests an intention to beat the Americans" as NASA has only said Cruise and Liman will arrive sometime in October, per the Guardian. Roscosmos said the pre-flight boot camp would be filmed by Russia's Channel One, which will also be involved in producing the film titled Challenge, along with Roscosmos director general, Dmitry Rogozin. It's described as a "space drama" that aims to "popularize Russia’s space activities" as well as the profession of cosmonaut. Peresild took home the best actress award at the 2015 Beijing International Film Festival for her role as Soviet Red Army sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko in Battle for Sevastopol, while Shipenko directed 2017's Salyut 7, centered on the 1985 mission to retrieve a lost Soviet space station in low Earth orbit. (Read more Russia stories.)