Video game developer and filmmaker and Richard Garriott made news recently as becoming the first director to shoot a short film in outer space. While filming his documentary (Man On A Mission) Garriott had time to record a short sci-fi film he titled Apogee of Fear. While I'm not so worried about seeing a film featuring the amateur acting stylings of two astronauts, it does send my head reeling as to whether Hollywood will ever be able to film a science fiction movie in the most realistic set imaginable, space. Easier said than done? You bet your geek a** it is, but it is possible even in today's age so long as you consider a few things.
To film his documentary, Garriot had to front $30 million out of his own pocket just to make it up there. The average film costs (according to 2006 numbers from film studios) about $65 million, so let that be our model. Send one person up to space and boom, your budget is halved. Of course, the cost travels higher the more people that get involved so it's safe to say that a movie filmed entirely in space would most likely have only one actor in orbit. Considering this, Hollywood would want to go with an A-lister who has a lot of pull to help them raise the rising cost of this production.
The average A-lister works for about $5 million a movie which now brings us down to $30 million left. The perfect first actor to be in space? It would have to be someone with a high psychological tolerance who could handle the many physical challenges of space...I'm sure you already know who I'm going to say.
Christian Bale is my A-list candidate as he is no stranger to radical body transformations. Out of all big name celebrities he seems most adept at handling the many trials presented in space travel which include but are not limited too...
- nasal congestion
- back ache
- abdominal pain
- bone deterioration
- kidney stones
- redistribution of blood flow in lungs
You get the picture. In addition to that, spending a long time in space (it takes 8 months to 1 year to film a Hollywood production) can lead to depression, a breakdown of motor skills upon returning to earth, and many other nasty things, most of which occur in the first three days of being in orbit.
Realistically then, we can't just send him up in a shuttle and hope for the best. Best bet would be to put him in the International Space Station and let movie magic give the illusion he's alone. It also might be best to get it done in anywhere closer to a month, as to not cause too many complications and further expenditures.
Oops, forgot about the director. There goes our remaining $30 million. There's a very short list of directors who look young and fit enough to stand up to the harsh conditions of space. On top of that you're likely going to be flying solo as more crew members will only increase the cost so you need a guy who has plenty of experience shooting on his own for cheap.
If you have to shoot a movie for cheap with limited resources, you can't beat the cinematography and chops of Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) or James Wan (Saw, Insidious). Not only were these guys both able to create awesome films on a low budget, but they also are young and more fit to handle the trails of space than say (no offense) Peter Jackson or George Lucas.
I have faith in either one to make an awesome movie, and while I would be more apt to lean towards Jones because of the overall suspenseful masterpiece that was Moon, if it were some kind of "space madness" scenario I would be curious as to what Wan would do with the project.
So you take one director, one actor, zero crew members, and a story. Get it done fast, and spend maybe a couple months in post production on Earth? Certainly possible given the right director/actor combination and a little help filming scenes outside the ship with trained space professionals. Considering the immense hype that would surround the first movie shot entirely in space? I say it's worth the cost.