No, Tom Cruise, You’re Not Going Into Fucking Space

When Elon Musk is involved in a project, it almost never gets off the ground

Tom Cruise is a short, 57-year-old millionaire cult member. He is not, nor has he ever been, an astronaut. But with a Hollywood reputation as the actor who does all his own (increasingly absurd) stunts, it was only a matter of time before he sought to escape Earth’s atmosphere in pursuit of cinematic greatness. And lo, a project was announced: 

Deadline reports that Cruise is working with NASA and Elon Musk’s SpaceX to develop “the first narrative feature film” shot in space. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine confirmed the rumor in a tweet, naming the International Space Station as the set and thereby adding fuel to a streak of “Tom Cruise will die in space” jokes. Classic stuff.      

I can’t deny that it’s fun to imagine such an utterly insane and uncalled-for production — though picturing this is probably the closest it will come to reality. That is, it will never fucking happen. Maybe it’s just a silly pet peeve, but frankly, I’m getting tired of these announcements from an industry that has been suspended for who knows how long. 

Ooh, a Night of the Hunter remake is “in the works”? No it isn’t! You can’t create a movie under quarantine! Shut up for like five minutes, okay? And if regular filming is impossible, you’re not getting Tom Cruise into space for a shoot that defies all the needs of production — an endeavor that would bankrupt any of the already struggling studios left (hmm, could that be why there isn’t one attached to this wild venture?), or, if he chooses to finance it, Cruise himself. Which, I guess, is where Elon Musk comes in.

The very mention of Musk — tech billionaire, inveterate tweeter and sex-with-Grimes-haver — is how you know the Tom Cruise really-in-space blockbuster will blow up on the launchpad. How many outlandish promises until we start ignoring this dude’s shameless self-marketing?

He says he’ll send California’s hospitals 1,000 ventilators as they treat coronavirus patients, then gives them completely different devices. He has an employee smash a Tesla truck window while demonstrating how the glass is the “bulletproof.” He involves himself in a Thailand underwater cave rescue where he’s not wanted, insisting they use an ill-suited mini-submarine he provided, then calls one of the divers a pedophile for saying this is unhelpful. His car company takes orders for vehicles they can’t deliver. His tunnel-boring company lays the foundation for a form of transit that won’t benefit cities, amounting to a crappy theme park ride. He wants to “Occupy Mars,” yet he doesn’t know what it looks like.

It’s almost as if Musk’s record of failure is always wiped clean by the next fantasy. Truly, he is a Renaissance grifter.

Anyway, this “film Tom Cruise on the ISS” pipe dream — which rests on the laughable idea that the moviegoers can tell the difference between a fake spacecraft interior and the actual thing — slots nicely into the Musk Hall of Bullshit, even if NASA has seen fit to collaborate. It’s one more headline-grabbing exploit that momentarily enhances his profile, applying the language of accomplishment where none exists.

And I see no way the intensely committed Cruise would stand for Musk’s half-assed, shitposting attitude where it came to the technical side of a highly dangerous, unprecedented stunt. In fact, I’m so confident we’ll never see this space movie as described that I vow, if it gets made (but it won’t), to publicly declare it my favorite film of all time, and advocate for recognition from every award committee.

So go ahead, Elon. This is exactly the shot in the arm Hollywood could use right now. Yeah, dude, put Tom Cruise on a rocket into space. For a movie. We’ll be waiting.