It’s the go-to joke when talking about the Mission: Impossible franchise and where it might go next. Space! Tom Cruise has already climbed the biggest building in the world, did an actual HALO jump, and hung off the side of a plane during takeoff. Like, where do you go next besides into actual outer space.

The thing that blows my mind is that while it didn’t involve Mission: Impossible, Cruise really did almost to to space — actual outer space — to make a movie, and with Avatar director James Cameron of all people. Cameron told the story to Empire in a new interview:

I actually talked to [Cruise] about doing a space film in space, about 15 years ago. I had a contract with the Russians in 2000 to go to the International Space Station and shoot a high-end 3D documentary there. And I thought, ‘S—, man, we should just make a feature.’ I said, ‘Tom, you and I, we’ll get two seats on the Soyuz, but somebody’s gotta train us as engineers.’ Tom said, ‘No problem, I’ll train as an engineer.’ We had some ideas for the story, but it was still conceptual.

Tom Cruise being totally gung-ho about getting trained as an engineer in order to make a movie in space is maybe the most Tom Cruise thing that’s ever happened.

I know James Cameron is busing making four more Avatar movies between now and the middle of the next decade, but can we get this going again? This is literally the movie I want to see more than any other right now; Tom Cruise in Space, by James Cameron. I cannot imagine any other science-fiction film in history competing with that.

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