Everest was a respectable critical and commercial success when it hit theaters back in September of 2015, earning solid reviews and grossing over $200 million in theaters worldwide. The movie is based on real events that transpired in 1996, when Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) – who made his business leading guided climbs up Mount Everest through his business, Adventure Consultants – led an expedition up the eponymous mountain, only to get hit by a severe blizzard that left Rob and his team of climbers (as well as their competitors) struggling to stay alive and get back home.
Director Baltasar Kormákur (2 Guns) elected to shoot Everest on location in Nepal when it was possible (including the actual Mt. Everest South Base Camp), in addition to filming on sound stages at Pinewood Studios in England. Those efforts paid off handsomely during the actual film, as Screen Rant’s own Ben Kendrick observed in his Everest review – noting that Mt. Everest in the movie is “a character as much as any of the film’s human protagonists.” Kormákur’s directorial approach required his cast to train and prepare for shooting at extremely high altitudes under freezing temperatures and a new featurette for the film (released ahead of its debut on DVD/Blu-ray) offers insight on that matter. You can watch that video, above.
One of the key challenges faced by the Everest cast and crew during production was of course the freezing temperatures in Nepal; as Clarke notes in the above video, it was in that regard that he came to appreciate just how important climbing gear is for anyone who attempts to take on the mountain:
“It was cold, it was minus twenty… Everyone rocks up in their gear and doesn’t know how to use it to begin with. Everyone’s learning to do their gear, ’cause their gear is what saves you up there, what looks after you.”
Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays Scott Fisher – Rob Hall’s (friendly) competitor and head guide for Mountain Madness – in the movie, recounts in the above featurette how he got a taste of what being under those extreme conditions at a high altitude can likewise do to a person mentally, during an altitude simulation that Everest‘s cast went through prior to the start of production. The movie examines that issue during the second half of its narrative (as was scripted by William Nicholson (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) and Oscar-winner Simon Beaufoy (127 Hours)), when the members of Hall and Fisher’s climbing teams struggle to climb down to safety when that aforementioned blizzard hits Everest – as much due to their deteriorating mental state and inability to function mentally, more than anything else.
Here’s a rundown of related bonus features and featurettes that will be included with Everest‘s home video release:
Exclusive Blu-ray Bonus Features:
LEARNING TO CLIMB: THE ACTOR’S JOURNEY – Cast members and the two film consultants who helped them prepare for the shoot discuss getting ready for the arduous production.
A MOUNTAIN OF WORK: RECREATING EVEREST – Bringing Everest to life required the filmmakers to recreate the mountain through state-of-the-art studio work and visual effects. The teams involved talk about how they made the seemingly impossible possible.
Blu-ray & DVD Bonus Features:
RACE TO THE SUMMIT: THE MAKING OF EVEREST – The trials and tribulations of cast and crew as they journey to the foothills of Everest and beyond, battling the elements and forming deep bonds along the way.
ASPIRING TO AUTHENTICITY: THE REAL STORY – Recollections of the tragic events of May 10, 1996, from those who were there, as the cast and filmmakers discuss bringing this harrowing tale to life with authenticity and respect.
Everest will be available on DVD and Blu-ray starting January 19th, 2016.
Source: Universal Pictures