Josh Brolin Heads For Everest

With Jake Gyllenhaal and John Hawkes

"We have a great cast that hasn't been announced yet..." promised director Baltasar Kormakur of his upcoming Everest movie when Empire had cause to speak to him recently. Well, the cat seems to be out of the bag, with reports this morning that Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, John Hawkes and Jason Clarke are all in talks to don climbing gear and head for Nepal.

The film has been in development for some time, with Christian Bale at one time casually attached. "We don't have him anymore; he went to do Moses (Ridley Scott's **Exodus) instead, which sucked," Kormakur told us. But Bale's departure led to a rethink which might ultimately affect Everest for the better. "I decided to go for a more ensemble version of the story," says the director. Hence, presumably, the current news.

That story is of the 1996 events, made famous by Jon Krakauer's book Into Thin Air (already filmed as a TV movie with Christopher McDonald as Krakauer), in which three separate Everest expeditions ran into tragic difficulty in a sudden storm. Eight climbers died. This version of what happened will be drawn from more sources than just Krakauer however, including other books and new interviews with the survivors. The screenplay is by William Nicholson (Gladiator, Les Misérables) and newcomer Justin Isbell.

Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title are producing, and Kormakur told us that he hopes to be shooting in Iceland, Italy and Nepal in the autumn. In the meantime, his 2 Guns, with Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, is out in the UK on August 16.