Ewan McGregor, Sam Heughan and Mark Strong are set to star in "Everest," the next film from director Doug Liman ("Edge of Tomorrow") about a team of climbers in 1921 who attempt to brave the world's tallest peak, Mount Everest.
The film is being presented to buyers at the Cannes Film Market next week, with UTA Independent Film Group overseeing the U.S. sale and HanWay Films handling international sales and distribution. Production aims to begin in the UK and Italy in January 2022, and the film is produced by Jennifer Klein and Liman.
"Everest" is not based on a true story of real climbers, but is inspired by the novel "Paths of Glory" by author Jeffrey Archer ("Kane and Abel", "The Prodigal Daughter" and the William Warwick novels). The book tells the story of a climber named George Mallory who died attempting to climb Everest; in the novel, it remained a mystery whether or not he ever reached the summit.
The film is set in 1921, when Mount Everest remains the very last great unconquered challenge on earth. McGregor plays a man picked by the arrogant head of the Royal Geographic Society (Strong) to scale the mountain. And following World War I, McGregor has to go up against an Australian rival (Heughan) who wishes to reach the summit first.
Liman, a self-professed "climbing nut," has assembled a production team that includes cinematographer Martin Ruhe, composer T Bone Burnett and production designer Oliver Scholl.
“We are thrilled to be working with HanWay Films in telling this important and timeless story. 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," producer Klein said in a statement.
"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,” HanWay Films MD Gabrielle Stewart said.
Liman most recently directed "Chaos Walking" with Tom Holland and "Locked Down," a heist film shot during the pandemic. He's also doing a movie with Tom Cruise and SpaceX in outer space.
McGregor is represented by UTA, Narrative and Sloane Offer Weber & Dern. Heughan is represented by UTA, United Agents, Viewpoint and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller & Gellman. Strong is represented by WME. Archer is represented by Joel Gotler and Robert Benun.