See The First Ever Movie Shot In Space With The Challenge Trailer

The new Russian film The Challenge is one of the first movies shot in space.

By Lyndon Nicholas | Updated

the challenge

There have been many films about space travel and exploration over the years, from 1968’s 2001: A Space Odyssey to more recent films like 2014’s Interstellar and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Although some like the Sandra Bullock-led Gravity endeavor to take a realist approach to space, most have fallen short of actually exploring space during filming, at least until now. An upcoming Russian film called The Challenge has been making international news as one of the first films to be shot in space.

Although 2008’s short film Apogee of Fear was the first narrative film filmed fully in outer space, The Challenge is the first feature-length fiction film to be filmed in space by professional filmmakers. A joint project between Roscosmos, Channel One, and Yellow, Black and White, The Challenge is a space drama about a surgeon who, after a prominent cosmonaut falls unconscious during a space mission on the International Space Station, is tasked with training to navigate space travel so that she can travel and perform heart surgery in orbit.

Actress Yulia Peresild will be starring as surgeon Zhenya Belyaeva after being chosen from thousands of applicants for the role. Before The Challenge, Peresild made her first acting appearance in the 2003 television series Land, and had her first major film role in the drama The Bride, with her breakthrough coming in the 2010 drama The Edge. She’s since had roles in films like 2012’s The Fog and 2015’s war film Battle for Sevastopol, as well as the television series Santa Lucia.

the challenge

The application and training process for The Challenge was rigorous, and Peresild reportedly lost over 30 pounds while preparing for the role with the rest of the crew members while training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. Both the initial crew and the backup crew participated in a four-hour simulation inside a replica spacecraft while wearing spacesuits in order to prepare for space travel. A reality show titled The Challenge: The First in Space aired on First Channel which chronicled the selection process, the training, and the challenges of filming for those involved in the project.

Those involved in the filming became members of the crew of Soyuz MS-19 and returned on Soyuz MS-18. Filming in space would take place between the crew’s launch on October 5 and their return on October 17. With a number of new developments in the space frontier like SpaceX’s new satellites, the film is in some ways a response by the Russian space program to remind international audiences of their supremacy in the field.

The film is directed and co-written by Klim Shipenko whose film credits include 2014’s Love Does Not Love and 2017’s Salyut 7. Alongside Yulia Peresild, the film’s cast includes Miloš Biković and Vladimir Mashkov, who were accompanied by cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Oleg Novitsky, Pyotr Dubrov, and Mark T. Vande Hei.

Part of the inspiration for the film is apparently to inspire a new generation of cosmonauts and young people to become interested in being involved in professions that involve space travel. As space exploration becomes a more common occurrence, issues like the one presented in The Challenge where space travelers need medical assistance may become commonplace, and this will mean professions like doctors and surgeons may need to start becoming familiar with and prepared for space travel themselves.