Russia chose a 36-year-old patriotic film star to send to space, sparking a race with Tom Cruise to be first to shoot a movie in orbit

Roscosmos_finalists
Yulia Peresild, here on the left, is pictured with two other finalists of an open casting call run by Russia’s space agency for “Vyzov,” a film set to be shot on the international space station in October this year.

  • Russia’s space agency announced the winner of an open contest to send an actor to space.
  • Yulia Peresild is due to take off for the ISS on October 5, the agency said Thursday.
  • Russia could beat a similarly-timed plan by Tom Cruise to shoot the first feature film in space.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Russia’s space agency announced the winner of an open contest to send an actor to the International Space Station (ISS) this year.

Russia aims to launch the team on October 5, in a bid to be the first feature film shot in space.

Yulia Peresild, a 36-year old actor, is scheduled to launch the same month Tom Cruise is slated to leave for the ISS to shoot a film with director Doug Liman.

Peresild was one of four finalists of an open audition run by Roscosmos, the Russian space agency. The announcement that she had won the competition was made on Thursday.

She has appeared in more than 30 movies, including patriotic feature films like “The Battle for Sevastopol,” where she played a young Soviet woman fighting for the Red Army, The Guardian reported.

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Peresild is due to start special space training – like centrifuge tests and parachute training – no later than June 1, Roscosmos said.

The training will be televised by one of Russia’s leading TV channels, Roscosmos said in a press release.

Two other finalists, Alena Mordovina, 33, and Alexey Dudin, 40, are also taking part in the training, and have been named backup actors for Peresild.

Film director Klim Shipenko and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov are due to accompany Peresild to the ISS. The team is set to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on October 5.

The movie, tentatively called “Vyzov” or “the Challenge,” will be a “space drama,” Roscosmos said. Few other details of its content exist.

In May 2020, NASA confirmed that it was working with Tom Cruise and Space X on a project to film the first movie aboard the ISS.

Later reports suggested the Cruise project could launch in October this year, which would give it an overlapping schedule with the Russia project.

The Roscosmos competition, launched last November, was open to professional and non-professional female actors.

Channel 1, the TV station running the contest, said in March it got 3,000 applicants and shortlisted 20 actors to undergo medical, physical, and psychological tests at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, Space News reported on April 27.

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