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Christian Bale to Climb ‘Everest’ for Working Title, Universal

"Contraband" director Baltasar Kormakur will direct the film based on Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air"

Christian Bale is bracing to climb Mount Everest. The Welsh actor is in talks to star in “Everest,” a film about two deadly days on the world's tallest mountain that Baltasar Kormakur is in talks to direct for Universal and Working Title, multiple individuals close to the project told TheWrap.

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The film tells the same story as Jon Krakauer’s book “Into Thin Air," but is not an adaptation of it, according to one of those individuals. 

Krakauer wrote the book about a two-day span in 1996 when eight people died on Mount Everest while attempting to reach the summit. It became known as "The Mount Everest Disaster."

Krakaeur was on assignment for Outside magazine, ascending in a party led by Rob Hall. Hall’s group, one of several on the mountain, lost four people, including Hall. That was the deadliest single year in the history of Everest.

Universal and Emmett/Furla will co-finance the project while Universal and Working Title, partners since 1999, will produce together. They have worked on films such as “Les Miserables” and “Atonement.” 

All parties cautioned that the deals for Bale and Kormakur are not done. The director and Working Title have been trying to get the project off the ground, but would need to shoot this summer. While establishing shots will be taken in Nepal, they will film most of it in Kormakur's native Iceland, the glaciers there are a facsimile of Everest. Nobody wants to be in Iceland during the winter.

Sony has a competing Everest-themed project, also named after the mountain, which Doug Liman will direct. Tom Hardy is attached to star as famed mountaineer George Mallory.

Bale last appeared in “The Dark Knight Rises,” and has made three movies since then – “Knight of Cups,” a Terence Malick film also starring Teresa Palmer and Natalie Portman, an untitled Malick film starring Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender and Portman, and “Out of the Furnace,” a Scott Cooper thriller co-starring Zoe Saldana, Casey Affleck and Willem Dafoe. Both “Knight” and “Furnace” will open in theaters this year.

Bale will next star in David O. Russell’s follow-up to “Silver Linings Playbook” alongside Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner. That should shoot in the spring, before "Everest" would get going.

Kormakur, whose last film was “The Deep,” previously worked with Working Title on “Contraband,” which starred Mark Wahlberg. Emmett/Furla and Universal partnered on Kormakur’s most recent project, “2 Guns,” a crime drama starring Wahlberg and Denzel Washington. That opens in theaters this August. 

The WME-repped director will soon direct HBO's "The Missionary" and has a lot of potential projects in the air, including a long-gestating film about Vikings.