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NASA chief ‘all in’ for Tom Cruise space station filming – Musk says SpaceX ‘supportive’

Tom Cruise speaking at the 2019 San Diego Comic Con International, for "Top Gun: Maverick", at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
May 27, 2020

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine once again voiced the agency’s support for actor Tom Cruise’s plans to film a movie aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Bridenstine said in an interview with the Associated Press that Cruise and other movie studio executives have been talking with the space agency about a potential film and that NASA supports the movie idea. In a separate interview, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said his company is also supportive of the idea.

“I will tell you this: NASA has been in talks with Tom Cruise and, of course, his team, and we will do everything we can to make it a successful mission, including opening up the International Space Station,” Bridenstine said.

Bridenstine gave the update after tweeting about the proposed film project earlier in May.

“NASA is excited to work with @TomCruise on a film aboard the @Space_Station! We need popular media to inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists to make @NASA’s ambitious plans a reality,” Bridenstine tweeted on May 5.

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“The question is, ‘Can Tom Cruise make a new movie that inspires the next generation Elon Musk.’ And if he can do that, then we’re all for it. NASA is all in,” Bridenstine told the AP Wednesday.

SpaceX has been rumored to be involved in the plans to make the movie, and Bridenstine told the AP he’s putting it to Cruise and the commercial space company to provide the mission plans needed to pull off filming in space.

Musk took a question about the proposed film plans in a Wednesday interview with “CBS This Morning.”

“Actually, I think that remains to be seen. We are supportive and I think NASA is supportive of anything that captures the imagination of the public,” Musk said while sitting next to Bridenstine.

He and Bridenstine sat for the CBS interview ahead of the first planned astronaut launch from U.S. soil in nine years, scheduled for Wednesday.

Bridenstine said NASA began its public-private partnership with commercial space companies, such as Musk’s SpaceX and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, as a way to reinvigorate public interest in space development.

“If they want to go to the International Space Station and make a movie and inspire a generation of explorers, that’s exactly what we’re looking for,” Bridenstine said of the movie idea. “I’m going to tell you something that I don’t often admit, but I became a Navy pilot because when I was in elementary school, I watched the movie ‘Top Gun.'”

Cruise played the role of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, the main character of the 1986 movie. Cruise is also set to reprise the role in the sequel “Top Gun: Maverick.” The sequel was previously scheduled for a June 2020 release, but was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic. The movie is now set for a December release, according to IMDb.

While Bridenstine and Musk voiced their support for the movie idea, a representative for Cruise has not responded to AP requests for comment.