Russia races Hollywood into space

Russia races Hollywood into space

Six decades after the flight of Yuri Gagarin, Moscow is seeking to achieve a new lead over the Americans in the race to space, but this time by seeking to be the first to film a fictional film in Earth´s orbit outside of gravity.

The task is entrusted to actress Yulia Peresild, 36, and director Klim Chebenko, 38, who will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome with cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov on a Soyuz rocket to reach the International Space Station between October 5 and October 17.

The Russian project is ahead of another announced cinematic work in this context, starring "Mission Impossible" films, Tom Cruise, 58, and director of "Mr. and Mrs Smith" Doug Lyman, 55. The heroes of the American work did not reveal to AFP any details of the timetable for the project, which was to be completed in cooperation with the US space agency (NASA) and the company "SpaceX" of billionaire Elon Musk.

Thus, the Russian film, titled “Vesuvius” (“Challenge” or “The Appeal” in Russian), leads the United States in one of the most prominent areas of American supremacy.

Actress Yulia Peresild wrote on Twitter: "We slept enough. Let´s be the heroes of our country!”

"Being at the forefront is important, but being the best is more important," the young actress, who describes herself as "patriotic but without fanaticism," told AFP, hoping that the project would restore Moscow´s position as one of the most prominent space invaders.
"With their beauty, athletic physique and intellectual abilities, our astronauts should return to occupying magazine covers," the actress adds.
Among the Russian film´s producers is the head of the space agency "Roscosmos" Dmitry Rogozin, a former deputy prime minister known for his anti-Western positions.
Konstantin Ernst, owner of the Pervi Canal TV channel, has been filming for more than two decades some of President Vladimir Putin´s most important moments, from military parades, presidential inaugurations and the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Rogozin revealed to the Russian media his ambitions in this field.
"The cinema has always been a weapon of political propaganda," he told the popular newspaper "Komsomolskaya Pravda" last June.
This is a way for Moscow to score points after the many failures it has suffered in recent years in terms of launching satellites, manned flights or scientific missions, especially due to the lack of innovation and rampant corruption.
Dmitry Rogozin recently revealed that Cruz and Lehman contacted Roscosmos Agency to shoot the film early last year, but that "political forces" he did not name pressured them to withdraw from the project to work with the Russian Space Agency.
He told "Komsomolskaya Pravda" that he understood after this story "that the universe is politics", and "from here the idea of ​​making a Russian film" arose.
The story of the Russian feature film has not yet been revealed, but the media reported that it deals with the mission of a doctor who was hastily sent to the International Space Station to rescue an astronaut.
The film´s budget is also kept secret, but the only criterion on which to base it is that the US space agency was paying tens of millions of dollars to get a seat at Soyuz.
Yulia Peresild did not disclose any additional information during an interview with Agence France-Presse at the Space Museum in Moscow, after a training session at the famous Cosmonaut Training Center, where she has been preparing since the end of May.
Yulia is proud of having managed to bypass the centrifuge, and also prepares to survive in a hostile environment and to land.
The small size of the filming site, which is limited to about 230 cubic meters of the Russian section of the International Space Station, poses an additional challenge to the director, who will also take over the filming, lighting, sound recording and makeup himself.
"We will have to photograph things in space that are impossible to photograph on Earth," the actress says.
Yulia, who comes from an icon painter´s family, never dreamed of being a cosmonaut, unlike many Soviet youths.
When she was chosen from among 3,000 candidates, she admitted she was "afraid".
Yulia stresses that she is not a "superhero", explaining that she derives her motivation from the children with severe disabilities whom she supports through the Galchonok Foundation.
The actress believes that “these children should believe in the impossible. For someone with a disability, holding a spoon is as challenging as going into space for me.”