The Challenge – First feature length film to have been shot in space

Are you a movie geek? Love watching dramas from various parts of life unfold on the big screen. Then the officially released trailer of the latest movie, “The Challenge,” will be a great treat. Till now, it was all about the budget, VFX, and iconic international locations made part of a movie. However, science has made it possible for humans to expand their reach beyond the Earth’s horizons. This time it is the space. Wondering how? Let’s help you with all the details.

The Challenge movie
Yulia Peresild, Anton Shkaplerov and Klim Shipenko pose for a portrait. Image Source:

The Challenge – An overview

While the world was waiting for Tom Cruise’s space venture, Russia made it possible with “the first-ever feature-length film to have been ever shot in space,” The Challenge. It is an upcoming Russian drama, a collaboration between Yellow, Black and White, Channel One, and Roscosmos. The main mission of the movie is to popularize space activities undertaken by Russia and glorify the “Cosmonaut profession.

The Challenge film
Ground personnel attending Yulia Peresild (lead actress) and Klim Shipenko (director) after their return to Earth. Image Source:

Back in 2020, Roscomos did go for an open audition for the lead role. To which thousands of applications made their way. And ultimately, Yulia Peresild did bag the opportunity for the same.

The approximate budget of the movie stands at 1.115 billion roubles. It was termed an experiment by the director Klim Shipenko until they were about to drive into space. On the International Space Station journey, the thirty-eight-year-old director had Yulia Peresild, the lead actress, as a co-passenger and Anton Shkaplerov (experienced cosmonaut) as the commander of the spaceship. Roscosmos (the space agency of Russia) made all the arrangements. It was a 12-day mission, and the crew was able to make it safely back home.

Until the crew landed back on Earth, the team continued to roll, getting additional scenes for the movie. These were to be used in the picture as the final landing scene. Moving on, the crew underwent medical evacuation and made it to Karaganda, Kazakhstan. The director and the lead actress went through a 10-day rehab program at the star city training base to readjust to the Earth’s environment.

The Challenge – Movie Plot and Cast

In the movie, you will see an intense drama unrolling in outer space. Here, Yulia Peresild plays the role of a thoracic surgeon entirely loyal to her duty. She goes to space when an astronaut (role played by Oleg Novitskiy – real-life cosmonaut) has to get operated on space.

Apart from the main leads, fellow cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov, Mark T, and Anton Shkaplerov also did accompany the trio on their journey to space. They were seen doing cameos. Moreover, here is a complete list of the entire cast from the movie:

  • Yulia Peresild (Zhenya’ Belyaev)
  • Miloš Biković (Vladislav Nikolaev)
  • Vladimir Mashkov (Constructor)
  • Sergey Burunov
  • Polina Agureeva
  • Alexey Barabash
  • Aleksandr Baluev
  • Igor Gordin
  • Yelena Valyushkina as Galina

Russia and all its firsts into space so far

When making the first move, the Russians are quite serious. Looking back on history, here is a list of all the firsts that they have completed so far:

  • Yuri Gagarin (both a pilot and cosmonaut) belonged to Russia. He was the first man to travel to outer space in 1961.
  • The first satellite Sputnik making its way to outer space, was from Russia.
  • Also, the country did go forward with the first-ever mission to send a dog named Laika into outer space. However, the creature could not survive the mission, and there are various theories documented explaining his death.
  • Moving on with the women’s squad, making it to outer space. We have Valentina Tereshkova from Russia as the first woman to move around in outer space. With Vostok 6 spacecraft, she went around the Earth forty-eight times in three days.

Interesting Facts related to “The Challenge” movie

The first film to be shot on space
Gagarin Research & test Cosmonaut Training center/ TASS / AFP. Image Source:

Here is a list of interesting facts about the movie “The Challenge.”

  • Before “The Challenge” in 1984, Russia had already conducted the shooting of a science fiction film, “Return from Orbit,” in the Salyut 7 space station.
  • As per sources, Dmitry Rogozin (former director general of Roscosmos from 2018-22) came forward as the film’s producer.
  • Before finalizing the prospective casts, everyone was made to go through multiple tests. That included physical and psychological monitoring to make sure that the person was suitable for their journey to outer space.
  • The actors made their way to space on the spacecraft Soyuz MS-19 and completed the shoot by staying in the laboratory for 12 days.
    Also, the director did shot the film all by himself. He was a one-man army taking down the camera, sound, lighting, and hair & make-up.
  • As per the lead actress, Yulia Peresild, it was all about learning and gathering new experiences. Every second in space was a big discovery.

The movie comes as a blow to Tom Cruise’s dream project

The film is a big blow to Doug Liman (director) and Tom Cruise (actor). As they did reveal travel plans to the ISS (International Space Station) after Tom wrapped up his prior commitments to mission impossible 7.

According to sources, NASA and Space X was set to back up Tom’s project, offering a minimum budget of $200 million. However, amidst all this, Russia came up with this project, “The Challenge,” and everything went into a back seat.

As of now, The Challenge is all set to release on the big screen on the 20th of April, 2023, and the world is getting ready to be a part of the mission.

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