Ewan McGregor, Outlander‘s Sam Heughan and Mark Strong have been set to star in Everest, an adventure thriller to be directed by Doug Liman from a script from Oscar-nominated Up in the Air scribe Sheldon Turner. The just-announced pic is set to start shooting January 22 in the UK and Italy. HanWay Films will rep international sales and distribution beginning at the upcoming Cannes Virtual Market. UTA Independent Film Group will handle the U.S. sale.
Inspired by Jeffrey Archer’s novel Paths of Glory, the story is set in 1921 and centers on the real-life George Mallory (McGregor), who is picked by Arthur Hinks (Strong) of the Royal Geographic Society to scale the previously unconquerable Mount Everest. Following World War I, the fading British empire is desperate for a victory, but for Mallory and his rival, the eccentric Aussie George Finch (Heughan), the challenge has nothing to do with patriotism, instead it is a singular test of self.
Mallory’s real-life journey ended in mystery; he died during this third expedition to summit Everest, and it’s unknown whether he ever made it to the top.
Jennifer Klein and Liman, the latter a climbing aficionado, are producing the pic. The cinematographer will be Martin Ruhe (Midnight Sky, The American), Oliver Scholl (Venom, Spiderman: Homecoming) will be production designer, and T Bone Burnett (Crazy Heart, True Detective) will handle the music.
This has been a longtime passion project for Liman. It once was set up with Sony and has had interest from a number of A-list actors over the years. Of course, Baltasar Kormakur made his own Everest for Working Title in 2015.
“We are thrilled to be working with HanWay Films in telling this important and timeless story,” Klein said. “Bringing Everest to screen is more relevant now than ever. In this period of uncertainty, a story of true determination, passion and positivity can help remind us of what we can overcome.”
Added HanWay Films managing dirctor Gabrielle Stewart: “Liman and McGregor are passionate adventurers both in life and filmmaking, and this film asks one of the great unresolved questions of the Everest story: Was Mallory the first to make it to the top, 30 years before [Edmund] Hillary? It would not surprise me if in the wake of this film, and as we approach the centenary of Mallory’s life-taking climb, this great mystery would lead us to one of great discovery.”
McGregor is represented by UTA, Narrative and Sloane Offer; Heughan is represented by UTA, United Agents, Viewpoint and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller. Strong is represented by WME. Archer is represented by Joel Gotler and Robert Benun.