Tom Cruise is gearing up for the ultimate, gravity-defying stunt where he will be hanging off of a space station as it orbits the Earth at an altitude of 254 miles (408 kilometers).
Indeed, the Hollywood star is not only heading to space for his next film location, but may be the first civilian to do a spacewalk outside the International Space Station (ISS). Cruise is known for doing his own stunts, and this will definitely take the actor’s daredevil reputation to new heights (quite literally!).
In a recent interview with BBC, Chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group Donna Langley suggested that Cruise will perform the extravehicular activity outside the space station as part of the upcoming film shoot that’s set to take place on board the ISS.
Universal reportedly signed off on the project, although the film is still in the development stages. The film will shoot on board the ISS, and Cruise is supposed to board a rocket and head towards low Earth orbit for his role as a man tasked with saving Earth. Although the plot might be rather unoriginal, the film could break a few records during its shoot.
Cruise and director Doug Liman had pitched the film to Langley in 2020, she revealed in the BBC interview. At the time, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine sent out a tweet declaring the space agency’s support of the project. “NASA is excited to work with Tom Cruise on a film aboard the Space Station!,” he wrote. Reports had also suggested that Cruise was working with Elon Musk’s private space venture SpaceX on the project, assuming that the actor might ride aboard one of their rockets to get to the space station. “Should be a lot of fun!” Musk responded to Bridenstine’s Twitter post.
It’s not clear where the film stands today in terms of its timeline, but Langley said during the interview that Cruise will be “the first civilian to do a spacewalk outside of the space station.”
The ISS welcomed its first private astronaut crew earlier this year, where the four crew members spent 15 days living and working in the microgravity environment as part of Axiom Space’s Ax-1 mission. NASA is already planning for the second private crew to board the space station in the second quarter of 2023, and the space agency sent out a call for proposals for two more private astronaut missions to the ISS that could fly to low Earth orbit as early as late 2023. However, NASA stipulated that any mission concept that involves spacewalks conducted by the private astronaut mission will not be accepted.
On the other hand, the all-private Polaris Dawn crew, which is scheduled to launch in December, includes a spacewalk as part of the mission itinerary. It’s not clear whether Cruise will have enough time to beat the Polaris crew for the title of first civilian spacewalk, with the crew having already been training for their trip to space since May.
The 60-year-old actor will still have to put in the work to be able to go to space, and not just rely on a career of action-packed, corny and self-righteous movies (except for Vanilla Sky, that was great). But seriously, spacewalks are no joke, and Cruise better be ready for the microgravity environment.
An earlier version of this post incorrectly described this upcoming mission as being the first to film on board the ISS. A Russian film crew worked aboard the space station last year, making it the first to do so.