Everest Director: We Need to Make Films That Feel Real
by Mannie Holmes
Everest director Baltasar Kormákur was feeling on top of the world at the 1)film premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre注1 in Hollywood.
Kormákur was joyful when he learned that mountaineer Alison Levine注2 called the film 2)trailer the most accurate film 3)portrayal of Earth’s highest mountain. It was an achievement the director wanted to make while filming at the Italian 4)Alps and near 5)Everest’s South Base Camp in Nepal.
“When I heard that they were making this movie I thought, ‘Oh great, another 6)cheesy movie that seemed so unrealistic,’” Levine said on the red carpet. “I could not believe how close this trailer looked to the real conditions on Everest. This, to me, looks like the most realistic climbing movie I’ve ever seen.”
And she would know. The explorer accomplished the Adventure Grand Slam in 2010—climbing the highest peaks on all seven continents and reaching the north and south poles. “The 7)ever-present 8)howl of the wind and the 9)scrape of boots on snow are kept in just the right balance with the characters’ voices.” Justin Chang wrote in his review.
The chilling story in Everest follows the 1996 climbing 10)expedition, where eight people lost their lives after a 11)severe snowstorm. At the time, the disaster marked the mountain’s largest 12)death toll during a single season.
“The crew had the hardest time because you have to walk up the mountain and then…you have to shoot for twelve hours,” Kormákur revealed about the most difficult filmmaking effort. “There were 13)avalanche warnings every day on the 14)course, we had to 15)evacuate. We lost our sets due to the avalanches, but what I liked about it was that you’ll look up at the mountain and wonder, ‘What is this mountain going to let me do today?’ ”
He stated that Josh Brolin注3 was the most “16)macho” on set and that the actor 17)weathered through his fear of heights while filming. Actress Naoko Mori注4 also 18)felt up to the challenge to conquer a 19)potentially dangerous role.
“There are no cars, no 20)heating, no facilities and basically we had to carry everything by ourselves,” she started. “Lunch would be like two boiled eggs and a bit of Yak cheese…but we loved it.”
“I just felt like we should do everything that we could possibly do with the elements,” the director responded. “the more that we make the Marvel Studio注5 films fantastic for what they are, the more we need to 21)contradict that and make films that feel real.”