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Scaling ‘Everest’: Discussing the Difficult Production Process

The feature Everest, inspired by the events surrounding an attempt to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain, by two different expeditions challenged by one of the fiercest snowstorms ever recorded. Deadline‘s Nancy Tartaglione spoke with director/producer Baltasar Kormáku, producer Tim Bevan and actor Jason Clark, who stars along withJosh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley, John Hawkes, Michael Kelly, Emily Watson, Robin Wright and Sam Worthington.

Highlights include:

BEVAN: It started in the early 2000s when I heard about the incident. I read the Krakauer book (Into Thin Air), I read the Boukreev book (Above the Clouds: The Diaries Of A High-Altitude Mountaineer), I read the transcripts of the accounts of the conversations that had taken place on the mountain. I learned that immediately after, in 1996, somebody at Universal had bought the rights to the transcripts of the conversations between Rob and (wife) Jan and the other stuff that goes on at Base Camp. They’d also bought the rights to Beck Weathers’ book (Left For Dead) and commissioned a script, but then it had gone dormant. So, Working Title being part of Universal, we said ‘Can we have that please?’ and they very sweetly said yes.

KORMAKUR: You try to dig yourself into the script, but of course you’re aware when prep stops for two months and all the work might have been for nothing. You have to have this weird belief. It’s probably why people make films in the first place. You have to be a bit out there to believe you can do it. You have to believe until it totally falls apart. Some place in my heart or brain or both, there is a very strong belief I’m going to pull it off. But in the end, that was just the first hurdle, getting it financed. There were complications because there is no book on how to shoot a film on Everest.