There’s an allure in the inherent spookiness of those classic man-and-his-pack-come-what-may tales. The terror and spectacle of many remains undiluted by fantasy, which taps into a rawer sense of fear. While beautiful and inspiring, nature can become ferocious instantaneously. People have that proclivity, too, in the woods when no one can hear you scream. Shudder. Remember that awful Appalachian Trail urban legend? Sheesh.
I can’t remember how I stumbled upon Into the Wild, but I do know I loved it, and the piece served as a gateway drug to Jon Krakauer’s works. It wasn’t until last summer that I read Into Thin Air, a recounting of the author’s trip up Mt. Everest and the tragedy that occurred on the way down. Truly, it was one of the most compelling and disquieting books I’ve ever read, leaving me affected to the point that there were nights I had trouble sleeping after I put it down. The story that Krakauer tells, and I mean it in the purest, soberest sense of the word, is marvelous.
I knew there was a George Mallory project in the works, but I had no idea there was one telling the story about what went down in ’96. So when the trailer dropped yesterday, not only was I blindsided with joy when it came to plot, but also by the caliber of the ensemble; it’s rich and well rounded, Love Actually style. AHH. Check out the trailer:
Yeah, yeah, the clip’s set-up makes our characters seem sort of trope-y, but when you realize that no, these people were not fictional, but flesh and blood, aiming for seemingly “impossible dreams” and missing their pregnant partners while truly truly trying to beat the odds in an utterly horrific situation, it adds an extra layer of poignancy to what you’re watching. Or what I hope to be watching- I’m assuming this movie’s going to be great without seeing it.
What I find to be of particular interest is that while the actor who portray’s Krakauer, Michael Kelly (Man of Steel, Now You See Me), is present throughout the trailer, he isn’t identified; talk-time is given to actors with greater buzz or storylines that can be easily parceled as tweetable soundbites of inspiration and thematic significance (I see you John Hawkes). Everest is allegedly based on an amalgam of different survivor’s accounts of the tragedy– including Krakauer’s- instead of favoring just one, and the change in title suggests that this is isn’t so much an adaptation of his best-selling story- which did, in fact, spark some controversy– but rather one that Krakauer played a part in. I still find it exceedingly interesting, however, that his name isn’t mentioned once throughout the trailer. After all, his enormously popular tale inextricably and very publicly tied his name to Everest fiasco of 1996. Is he a household name? Maybe not like, say, J.K. Rowling. Yet Into Thin Air and Into the Wild (and its subsequent film) are well-known enough to have put him on the map, not to mention his other hit works of non-fiction. It seems to me that introducing him in the trailer would be a marketable move, which makes his absence rather noticeable. Is this some sort of subtle shade? Have other survivors lobbied to have their perspectives have greater presence? Or, at the end of the day, does it really just come down to star power (then cast someone bigger for Krakauer…) or how this particular international trailer was cut? Sam Worthington (Avatar, Clash of the Titans), a relatively popular star, is apparently in this movie, but I didn’t see him in the clip- am I blind?-so it could merely be a matter of this-over-that and nothing more.
We’ll see. Maybe my memories of the book’s detail are foggy and I’m making too much of this. Nevertheless, I for one am terribly curious.
Also! Shout out to The Walk for another dizzyingly-great trailer. While I can’t honestly get behind Joseph Gordon Levitt’s French accent (yet), the cinematography and editing on this puppy look phenomenal, and it seems a fitting, cathartic homage to the World Trade Center in a way that doesn’t recall the horror of 2001. Can’t wait.
EVEREST movie poster image, here used as a header, courtesy of imdb.com.