It's safe to say people are likely dreaming of ways to get off this planet right now, but Tom Cruise might actually do it. Earlier this morning, Deadline ran a short item that Cruise and Elon Musk's company SpaceX, in conjunction with NASA, were in the early phases of discussing the possibility of shooting a movie in space.
Somehow, this managed to attract less attention than Musk allegedly naming his newborn child X Æ A-12. This is perhaps not even the craziest rumor we've ever heard about Tom Cruise.
Yet, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine confirmed on Twitter by the end of the day that, indeed, this is something which may actually occur. Though, his tweet mentions nothing of Musk or his company.
The Deadline item clarifies that the film would not be part of the Mission: Impossible franchise, but does heavily imply that Cruise would star in the film.
Matters like plot, of course, have not been confirmed. Nor is there any indication about how much of the film would be actually shot in space—just a pivotal scene, or the whole thing?
Perhaps we should have seen this coming. This isn't even the first time Cruise has entertained the idea of shooting in space.
A few years ago, the inordinately ambitious director James Cameron revealed that in around 2000, he discussed the possibility of shooting a film in space with Cruise.
“I actually talked to [Cruise] about doing a space film in space, about 15 years ago. I had a contract with the Russians in 2000 to go to the International Space Station and shoot a high-end 3-D documentary there," Cameron told Empire. "And I thought, ‘S—, man, we should just make a feature.’ I said, ‘Tom, you and I, we’ll get two seats on the Soyuz, but somebody’s gotta train us as engineers.’ Tom said, ‘No problem, I’ll train as an engineer.’ We had some ideas for the story, but it was still conceptual.”
Russia's Soyuz space shuttles did, for a short time, allow some form of space tourism (Remember when Lance Bass almost went to space back in 2002? Yeah, that would have been on Russian shuttles).
In fact, through one of those Soyuz flights, the first short film ever shot in space was made possible. Back in 2009, video game entrepreneur Richard Garriott booked a seat to the International Space Station and recruited a few actual astronauts and cosmonauts to act out a nine-minute film called Apogee of Fear.
We imagine Cruise would aim for something a little more professional.
Ultimately, though, Cruise's allegiances remain with America. In another odd story, he apparently inspired and took part in the redesign of NASA's official website at some point. He's a confirmed space nut, despite the fact that he has surprisingly few space-centric films in his body of work.
Though, America has not had its own space shuttle program since 2011. So, we imagine, that's where Musk's SpaceX comes in. The company already has contracts with NASA to shuttle both supplies and astronauts back and forth between earth and the International Space Station. What's one more roundtrip for Tom Cruise?
The film would be a milestone, but it does put things in perspective. In the '60s, the space race represented the pinnacle of mankind's scientific achievement. Today, space is just the next frontier in the content wars.