Russian crew members who traveled to the International Space Station in order to film scenes for the first film partially shot in space returned safely to Earth on Sunday. This milestone could give the Russian film industry a slight edge over Hollywood, which also hopes to film a movie onboard the ISS with Tom Cruise in future.
Yulia Peresild (director Klim Shipenko) and Oleg Novitskya real-life cosmonaut, were present on Saturday. They also participated in the film headed back to Earth aboard a Russian Soyuz MS-18 satellite. After a three-hour journey, they landed safely in the Kazakhstan desert at 10.35 am local time.
Peresild, Shipenko and their crew spent 12 days filming scenes in space for the movie The Challenge. Peresild plays an operating surgeon who prepares to fly to the ISS in order to save the life of an ailing cosmonaut (reportedly played by Novitsky).
The crewed spacecraft Soyuz MS-18's descent vehicle is stable and standing straight. According to AFP translation, the crew is feeling great! Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, stated on Twitter that they are part of the joint film project.
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The crew had to feel happy, as they were still filming. While Russian officials assisted Peresild and Shipenko out of the MS-18 capsule, the film crew on Earth went to work. According to the New York Times, a producer was heard shouting instructions over the NASA and Roscosmos livestreams of the landing.
The producer asked that we do some filming, Please do not film on your smartphone. Don't take videos. This is the end of the movie.
The scene in which Novitsky is greeted by an actor and Peresild is then asked to kiss her hand, was apparently shot at least four times. According to the Times, Peresild smiled at Novitsky in one of the takes. To help them heal from the effects of living on space, the crew will be participating in a 10-day rehabilitation program.
The Challenge is a drama film, but it's unlikely that the crew was expecting to experience any real drama aboard the ISS. Friday's test of the MS-18s engines resulted in the ISS being tilted from its original position. The engine fired for longer than expected. Fortunately, NASA and Russian officials were able to correct the ISS's position in less than 30 minutes.
Although the scenes are finished, the battle for space filming is not over. Although Russia has a lead over Hollywood, the film must still be completed.