Benedict Cumberbatch Eyed For Everest

As the mountain movie match-up continues...

No, that headline does not mean that Benedict Cumberbatch, worried by the initial box office flop of The Fifth Estate, has decided to ditch the acting lark and try his hand at mountaineering. He’s simply one of several contenders being considered to replace Tom Hardy on Everest, Doug Liman and Sony’s account George Mallory’s attempt at the perilous peak.

Yes, things sure have changed here on Walton's Mountain Everest. Liman is pushing for a March start date which means that Hardy, who was first reported as attached last year, is no longer able to make the date.

Sony and Liman are raiding the casting office contacts list and have Cumberbatch as a prime candidate to step in. They’re not just pinning all their hopes on him, though: according to Deadline the likes of Joel Kinnaman, James McAvoy, Henry Cavill, Luke Evans, Dan Stevens, Matthew Goode, Jim Sturgess and little-known, fresh-faced newcomer Tom Hiddleston (just keeping you on your toes, people) are in the sights to play either Mallory or Aussie rival George Finch. So… basically most of the en vogue young male actorly types right now, then?

Liman will work from Sheldon Turner’s adaptation of Jeffrey Archer’s book Paths Of Glory, which chronicled Mallory’s ill-fated final attempt in 1924.

That’s not the only update about a film called Everest. What about Universal and Working Title’s similarly named film, which has 2 Guns’ Baltasar Kormakur set to direct? It hit financing difficulties when co-sponsor Emmett/Furla Films dropped out and is still looking to court a new cash suitor. Still, Kormakur is pressing ahead with the tale of an expedition that headed out on 1996 but was hit with disastrous weather and left eight climbers dead.

Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Jake Gyllenhaal and Jason Clarke are still apparently attached to that one, and Kormakur remains committed to starting next month. If any of the cast drops out, of course, he’ll have to find another actor whose first name starts with a J or future stories will be a lot less fun to write.

This Everest is based on Jon Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air plus interviews with survivors, and despite its funding fumbles, it appears on track to arrive first.