Russia, First to Set Actor and Film Director into Space to Make Feature Film in Orbit

In this handout photo released by Roscosmos, Actress Yulia Peresild, left, director Klim Shipenko’ right, and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, members of the prime crew of Soyuz MS-19 spaceship pose at the Russian launch facility in the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. PIn a historic first, Russia is set to launch an actress and a film director to space to make a feature film in orbit. Actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko are set to blast off Tuesday for the International Space Station in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft together with Anton Shkaplerov, a veteran of three space missions. (Andrey Shelepin, Roscosmos Space Agency via AP)

This first-time project—sending and actor and film director into space—will be a chance to raise the prestige of Russia’s space program.

Actor Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko are set to blast off Tuesday for the International Space Station in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft together with cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, a veteran of three space missions. After 12 days on the space outpost, Peresild and Klimenko will return to earth with another Russian cosmonaut.

While in space, the crew plans to film segments of a new movie titled “Challenge” about a surgeon summoned to rush to the space station to save a crew member who suffers a heart condition.

At a news conference at the Russian launch facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Peresild admitted that the training for the mission was grueling but described it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She also admitted that it was difficult for her to adapt to the strict discipline and rigorous demands of the training period.

What was the most difficult part of the training for her? For her, learning about the design and handling of the spacecraft was the most challenging part of the preparation for the flight.

Shipenko also described the training as tough. The training course prepared him and his partner for the mission. He says he’s thrilled to be the first filmmaker in space and is keen to experiment with lighting, camera settings, and other technical aspects.

Of course, as with anything new, there will be skeptics. Some Russian media were skeptical about the plan and as reported, there were some doubters within the Russian space program as well.

Novitskiy, who is set to star as the ailing cosmonaut in the film, will take the captain’s seat in a Soyuz capsule to take the crew back to earth on October.

 – Ella Breedlove