Blockbuster movie-makers take on a new frontier: space
One small step for Tom Cruise, one giant leap for cinema. But what will filming in space actually look like?
words Lucy O'Brien
For Academy Award-winning daredevil actor Tom Cruise, it turns out the sky actually isn’t the limit. Forget CGI and green screens, Cruise is launching cinematic innovation to new heights as he's set to become the first actor to film in space. In a BBC interview with Universal Studios boss Donna Langley, she confirmed the possibility of an upcoming project with the 60-year-old Mission Impossible star, with the ultimate aim to make him the first civilian to ever perform a space walk outside of the International Space Station (ISS).
Though the film title and other cast members are yet to be announced, Cruise is confirmed to (hopefully) co-direct with Doug Liman, the filmmaker behind The Bourne Identity franchise. Originally pitched to Universal in 2020 but postponed due to the pandemic, Cruise’s intergalactic vision is finally beginning to show real promise. In the interview confirming the project, Donna Langley said: “I think Tom Cruise is taking us to space, he’s taking the world to space. That’s the plan - taking a rocket up to the space station and shooting.” If Universal gives the green light, Cruise is set to make both cinematic and space travel history.
Is this even plausible?
Theoretically, yes, but it certainly won’t be easy. Cruise and his team would have to secure large insurance funds for the project: there hasn't exactly been precedent set for filming gone wrong while suspended in actual outer-space. We can only expect that the actor will have to undergo intense training to help overcome the physical and mental battles that space presents.
To prepare for events like space walks, Cruise will more than likely have to have lessons in Neutral Buoyancy - where trainees will spend hours on end performing tasks underwater in an attempt to replicate space’s zero-gravity environment. The actor will also have to be in peak physical fitness, as the effects of weightlessness means human muscle and bones can begin to deteriorate if not kept regularly active. Like most ISS missions, it is likely Cruise will be in space for several months, and so will have to adjust to an entirely different way of life…
The project, as crazy as it may seem, is nonetheless looking likely. The film has reported backing from pioneering space travel powerhouses NASA and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which is pretty hefty in terms of support. Now we wait for Universal’s decision - one that could transform possibilities of film-making forever.