Twelve climbers died on Mt. Everest in 1996, but the harrowing story of the events that occurred on May 10-11, 1996, have created the most exciting story of human endurance and survival yet documented. More than 300 hundred documented climbers have died on the mountain, many whose bodies line the road to this day and still are used as checkpoints or mile markers for future climbers. We don’t know all the details of their stories like we do of the May 1996 disaster. And that’s thanks primarily to the fact that a master storyteller was on the mountain to be part of what happened.
That storyteller is Jon Krakauer, a journalist who would later document the events in the bestselling account Into Thin Air, one of the most exciting, jaw-dropping books ever written. Without Krakauer so many people around the world would not know so much about these peoples’ lives we’d otherwise have no reason to know about: Beck Weathers, Rob Hall, Scott Fischer, Anatoli Boukreev, Doug Hansen, Andrew Harris, Yasuko Namba. The crossroads where they would all meet is finally coming to the big screen this year in director Baltasar Kormákur‘s Everest. It will be difficult to screw up this story. Millions of dollars went into the production.
Just look at the major league cast alone. Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko, Zodiac, Source Code, Homicide) plays Fischer, Josh Brolin (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jonah Hex, Men in Black III, Milk, No Country for old Men, The Goonies) is Beck Weathers, Michael Kelly (House of Cards, Fringe, Law & Order, Unbreakable) is Krakauer, John Hawkes (Deadwood, Lost, The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), is Hansen, Jason Clarke (Terminator: Genisys, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) is Hall, Martin Henderson (The Ring, House, M.D.) is Harris, Icelander Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson is Boukreev, and Naoko Mori (Humans, Torchwood, Doctor Who) is Namba.
Check out this first, full-length trailer for Everest:
More minor characters in the real-life story portrayed in the new film account include Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game, Jack Ryan, Never Let Me Go, Pirates of the Caribbean, Domino, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace) as Hall’s wife, Robin Wright (The Princess Bride, State of Play, Unbreakable, Forrest Gump) as. And hey, that’s Mr. Selfridge’s Thomas Goodman-Hill yet again, as Neil Beidleman. Other real life roles are filled by Mark Derwin (Guiding Light, Bones, Chuck, Without a Trace), Emily Watson (Gosford Park, War Horse, Corpse Bride), Sam Worthington (Avatar, Terminator Salvation, Clash of the Titans), and Clive Standen (Vikings, Doctor Who, Robin Hood).
Regardless of the success of this film, you may want to read the various first-hand accounts to get a real free for this real-life adventure. Start with the best: Krakauer’s Into Thin Air. Russian climber guide Anatoli Boukreev didn’t like Krakauer’s account, so responded with his own, The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest. Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest documents Beck Weathers’ story. Each of these are worthy reads. Other accounts include Climbing High: A Woman’s Account of Surviving the Everest Tragedy, by climber Lene Gammelgaard, After The Wind : 1996 Everest Tragedy–One Survivor’s Story, by Lou Kasischke, High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places, by David Brashears, and the Everest IMAX movie (filmmakers encountered the disaster climbers on their own climb). Krakauer’s story got a less than adequate treatment in the film Into Thin Air.
Look for Everest in theaters September 18, 2015.