For years, many have joked that a future installment of the Mission Impossible franchise would be shot in space, given actor Tom Cruise’s proclivity for undertaking his own, dangerous stunts for just about every action film he’s been in.
Now, Cruise is actually headed to space, according to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who said that the space agency will collaborate with the actor for a film aboard the International Space Station.
Last night, Deadline broke the story that Cruise was collaborating with SpaceX to shoot the “first narrative feature film—an action adventure to be shot in outer space.” Bridenstine confirmed the project in a Tweet this afternoon, saying that the film would be set aboard the ISS.
NASA is excited to work with @TomCruise on a film aboard the @Space_Station! We need popular media to inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists to make @NASA’s ambitious plans a reality. pic.twitter.com/CaPwfXtfUv
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) May 5, 2020
NASA has long collaborated with studios to ensure that it’s depicted in a fair light, providing support for films like Apollo 13, Armageddon, Mission to Mars, and others. The agency has also helped support major documentaries, sending up IMAX cameras into orbit to collect fantastic imagery. The agency has recognized the potential that science fiction holds for the general public, and by being part of the production, they can help add a bit of realism to impart a better idea of the science and technology that goes into real-world space travel.
But this appears to be the first time that an actual film will be shot in orbit. Cruise is well-known for the work that he puts into learning how to undertake his own stunts and to fly planes, and of all the actors in Hollywood, he’s probably the most qualified person to actually undertake such a project.
Deadline noted that the project was still in its early stages, and that there aren’t any studios involved at this point. SpaceX is set to launch its first astronauts to the ISS from US soil on May 27th aboard a Falcon 9 rocket—a significant milestone for the company. Presumably, Cruise will head up to the station aboard one of the company’s rockets.
Whenever and however this film eventually comes to fruition—if it ever does—NASA is clearly banking on the publicity that it’ll generate as it works to try and return to the Moon in the next decade.