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As if 2020 couldn’t get any more bizarre, Russia has formally announced its plans to film a movie in space — before Tom Cruise can film his. According to Sky News, Channel One has teamed up with Russian space agency Roscosmos to produce Challenge, which aims to begin filming at the International Space Station in October 2021. Russia's biggest TV channel has launched a competition to find the project's lead actress.

Among the role’s qualifications, being a professional actress is not one of them. Channel One is looking for a “real superhero” who wants to “go to the stars… at the same time as becoming a big international star.” Each applicant must be incredibly athletic, physically fit, and a Russian citizen between the ages of 25 and 40. She also needs to have a clean criminal record and a “chest girth” of up to 112 cm.

Meanwhile, Cruise is hard at work on SpaceX Project, which he is developing with Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow). Cruise will star in the picture, which will have an exclusive theatrical release. The movie is expected to start filming late next year, with assistance from NASA and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. Production costs are estimated to sit at an astronomical $200 million. Like Challenge, SpaceX Project is supposed to film its action sequences at the International Space Station. Naturally, they can’t both film there at the same time. That would be super awkward.

Cruise was planning on being the first actor in history to be sent to space to film a movie. Now, Russia’s trying to beat him to the finish line. It looks like we have another Space Race on our hands, although this time there's no Cold War implications. May the best space movie win.

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