Knight­ley to play widow

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS -

Keira Knight­ley will join the starstud­ded cast of a film about the 1996 Mt Ever­est tragedy in which Kiwi climbers Rob Hall and Andy Har­ris died.

Ever­est will fea­ture Hol­ly­wood stars Jake Gyl­len­haal, Josh Brolin, and Sam Worthington, and it has now been re­vealed Knight­ley will play Rob Hall’s widow, Jan Arnold.

Knight­ley will recre­ate the emo­tional phone calls be­tween Hall and a preg­nant Arnold in New Zealand as he was trapped high on the moun­tain.

Film­ing started in Rome in Fe­bru­ary and the movie is due to be re­leased early next year.

In May 1996 two par­ties on the south col of Ever­est, one be­ing guided by Rob Hall’s Ad­ven­ture Con­sul­tants and an­other be­ing led by Amer­i­can Scott Fischer, were caught in a blizzard.

Five people died, along with three climbers from the Indo-Ti­betan Bor­der po­lice on the north col.

The film is be­ing made by pro­duc­tion com­pany Work­ing Ti­tle.

Arnold said she felt pos­i­tive about the movie as it was the first time in­put had been sought from a New Zealand per­spec­tive.

‘‘We as­sisted them with part of it. Most of the in­for­ma­tion is in the pub­lic do­main so they can make it any­way, but we had the feel­ing that Work­ing Ti­tle had big mo­ti­va­tion to tell the story as close as they could to the truth.’’

She thought it would be a ‘‘dram­abased-on’’ sort of film, but those be­hind the pro­duc­tion said they wanted to retell the story.

‘‘How they tell it in the end will be how they tell it, but I did feel that their mo­ti­va­tion was to retell. I think it is a story worth telling, of brav­ery and am­bi­tion and hu­man­ity.’’

The cast is led by Hol­ly­wood stars Gyl­len­haal, of Broke­back Moun­tain fame, who will play Scott Fisher, and No Coun­try for Old Men star Brolin, who plays Amer­i­can climber Beck Weath­ers.

Aus­tralian Ja­son Clarke, who was in the Great Gatsby and Pub­lic En­emy, will play Rob Hall. Avatar ac­tor Sam Worthington will play New Zealand climber and guide Guy Cot­ter, who was on the moun­tain when the tragedy hap­pened.

For­mer Short­land Street star Martin Hen­der­son has been cast as Andy Har­ris.

The movie is be­ing filmed in Nepal, the Dolomites in Italy, Pinewood stu­dios in Lon­don, and at Cinecitta stu­dios where Gangs of New York and BBC se­ries Rome was filmed.

Jan said an­other Kiwi will be in­volved in mak­ing the film – her nephew Sashi Arnold.

‘‘When these guys came over from Lon­don I said to them I know this is kind of cheeky, but I have this 19-year-old nephew, he is gor­geous, and this is the project he did on his un­cle Rob when he was 9 years old; he’s study­ing film and he has a Bri­tish pass­port and he’s des­per­ate to get in the in­dus­try.

‘‘The guy looked across at the di­rec­tor and said ‘ you know he’s your next run­ner’,’’ she said.

De­spite hav­ing stood on top of the world’s high­est moun­tains, Jan said help­ing her nephew was one of her proud­est achieve­ments.

Cast: Hol­ly­wood ac­tress Keira Knight­ley.

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