Cosmonaut film made as Cuba/US drama co-prod
A film based on the true story of a stranded Russian cosmonaut has become the first Cuba/US drama co-production in six decades.
Sergio and Sergei is set in 1991 and tells the tale of a Russian cosmonaut who was stranded on the Mir Space Station when the USSR collapsed.
Russia’s new government was unable to bring him home but by chance the cosmonaut managed to contact a Cuban academic and a US journalist who worked together to mount a rescue.
Diplomatic relations have begun to thaw between the US and Cuba, but the film marks the first time in decades that the two countries have formally worked together on a dramatic production, Deadline reports.
Period movie Papa: Hemingway in Cuba (pictured) recently became the first movie involving US talent to film in Cuba since the late 1950s after lengthy negotiations.
The Cuba leg of filming for Sergio and Sergei took a year to organise as the US government’s trade embargo is still in force.
American actor Ron Perlman – particularly known for his big-screen work with Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro – is an executive producer on Sergio and Sergei, and co-stars in the film.
“A lot of American productions are going down now to utilise what is fresh, virgin territory, for a number of reasons that include economic ones, in anticipation of what is about to explode in a new chapter for American and Cuban relations,” said Perlman in comments to Deadline.
“The table is set for that and forward-thinking people are positioning themselves to test the waters for what a collaboration like that will yield.”
Softening US/Cuba relations have given Hollywood an opportunity to make use of Cuba’s exotic filming locations. Vin Diesel’s action sequel Fast 8 and Michael Bay’s Transformers: The Last Knight have both filmed on the island nation this year.
For more on filming in Cuba see our production guide.
Image: Michael Pacino