Sylvester Stallone makes a space movie. One of the heroes is a Ukrainian man

Sylvester Stallone’s Balboa Productions and the British Altitude Film Entertainment have announced the start of work on the film adaptation of the book by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, “The Apollo Murders”.

What is the book “The Apollo Murders” about?

The author of the book is one of the most famous astronauts of our time, Chris Hadfield. He made three space flights and became the author of the first music video filmed in space. 

According to the genre, “The Apollo Murders” is science fiction. The action of the book takes place in an alternate reality in 1973, at the height of the Cold War and the space race between the United States and the USSR. The Apollo 18 spacecraft is launching to the Moon. A few weeks before the flight, the crew receives an unexpected task: to destroy the Soviet military space station Almaz. As often happens in dramatic stories, everything does not go according to plan, and astronauts will have to overcome a number of obstacles — both technical and psychological. 

All the events in the book are scientifically reliable and organically included in the real history of space exploration and its conquerors.

What does Ukraine have to do with it?

One of the heroes of the book is a Ukrainian, a native of the Crimean Tatars, Gabdukhai Latypov or just Gabdul. He grew up near Simferopol and dreamed of becoming an astronaut. After graduation, he went to serve in the Air Force with the hope that he would be directed to study. Despite his high results in the service, his application for admission to flight school was repeatedly rejected due to his ethnic origin. One day he received the most important task: to become a “terrestrial” astronaut, he should remotely control a wheeled vehicle on the Moon, known as “Lunokhod”. 

In Soviet times, the control center for interplanetary stations really functioned in Crimea, and a lunar polygon was built near Simferopol that completely reproduced the surface of our natural satellite. According to eyewitnesses, the lunodrome was striking in its scale and appearance: craters, ditches and trenches interspersed with boulders, mounds of gravel, and sandy slopes. The crew of lunar rovers trained at this training site, among whom was the driver — Gabdukhai Latypov.

Ruins of the former Lunokhod control center in the Simferopol. Source:

What is known about the film?

Balboa Productions signed an agreement with Amazon Studios to produce films and TV series in April of this year. Stallone will become a screenwriter, producer and director on these projects. The results of the filmmaker’s work will appear on Prime Video streaming, but the films will most likely be shown in cinemas first. Obviously, the film adaptation of the book “The Apollo Murders” is one of the projects under this deal.

There are currently no details about the cast. It is also unknown whether it will be a TV series or a movie.

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