Last night, we boldly declared that Tom Cruise is going to die in outer space after reports came out that he was working on a plan to film a movie up in orbit with the help of NASA and Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Cruise has a reputation for doing his own (increasingly dangerous and elaborate) stunts, culminating in his ankle getting destroyed while jumping across a roof for Mission: Impossible—Fallout, so it seemed like a grimly safe assumption to guess that things wouldn’t necessarily go super well if this plan actually came to fruition. Hell, actual trained astronauts sometimes don’t make it back to Earth, why should we assume that Tom Cruise will have better odds?
Anyway, it was all just fun speculation yesterday, because we assumed nobody would be stupid enough to actually send Cruise to space for a movie, but now—in the cold light of a Tuesday—we’ve been forced to recognize that this completely ridiculous thing might actually happen. That’s because, as reported by Entertainment Weekly, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein tweeted about Cruise’s space movie, saying they’ll be sending him up to the International Space Station because the organization needs “popular media” to “inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists.”
Despite that tweet, there are still a lot of hurdles that need to be crossed before this goes from being a foolish idea to an actual ill-conceived motion picture, like the fact that no studio on the planet would take on the necessary risk to actually pay for something like this. Also, Cruise would have to be trained, and they’d need to figure out how to direct a movie in space and find someone to do that, and they’d need to write a script that was interesting enough to lift the movie up over its very dangerous gimmick. You don’t want the first movie filmed in space—the movie that Tom Cruise risked an icy, lonely death for—to be bad.
Also, while we’re here, does Mr. NASA know that it’s possible to make a movie about space that inspires a new generation of engineers and scientists without actually putting a movie star in a rocket? Why not let trained astronauts act in a movie? Or why not just use special effects? People like realistic space movies like The Martian and Gravity and 2001: A Space Odyssey, just do those again but with more NASA branding. And maybe cut Elon Musk out of this, you don’t really need him.