Has there ever been a classic mountain climbing movie? The lure of the rock face, not to mention the obvious physical manifestation of ambition, has long attracted filmmakers, whether they shot on sets or got carefully rigged up on the side of the real thing. Previous mountain climbing efforts include Clint Eastwood's The Eiger Sanction in 1975 (on which a professional climber died) and Martin Campbell's Vertical Limit in 2000 (remember when Chris O'Donnell was a movie star?) and now it's time for the pitons and ropes to come out again.
Prolific Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur, who is no stranger to the elements through his domestic productions such as the sea storm drama The Deep, is in pre-production in Everest, the Hollywood-produced story of a 1996 ascent of the world's highest peak that saw eight climbers die during a storm. Kormakur, who directed Mark Wahlberg in last year's action thriller Contraband and has already shot 2 Guns with the same actor opposite Denzel Washington, has Jake Gyllenhaal (Source Code; pictured), Josh Brolin (Men in Black 3), Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) and the brilliant John Hawkes (Winter's Bone) for his cast.
Gyllenhaal is coming off the back of one of those spells Hollywood actors have when a blockbuster or two underperforms (in this case Mike Newell's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time in 2010) and they redirect themselves to material that speaks to them creatively not professionally. The actor has already made two films, both due out later this year, with French-Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, who directed the powerful Incendies.
In the thriller Enemy, Gyllenhaal stars opposite Melanie Laurent (Beginners) and Sarah Gadon (A Dangerous Method) as a man who seeks out his double after seeing him in a movie (I'm guessing the movie is not Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time), while Prisoners features Gyllenhaal as a police detective drawn into the obsessive hunt for two missing girls where the desperate father of one (Hugh Jackman) kidnaps the main suspect who the police can't find any evidence against (Paul Dano).
British actor Rosamund Pike (Jack Reacher, The World's End) is firming as David Fincher's choice for the female lead in his adaptation of the mystery Gone Girl; Cate Blanchett (The Aviator) and Djimon Hounsou (In America) have joined the voice cast of the animated sequel to How to Train Your Dragon; Mel Gibson (Mad Max) looks like playing the villain in The Expendables 3, which young Australian filmmaker Patrick Hughes (Red Hill) will direct.
Jolie returns to direct
Angelina Jolie looks like she'll take up the challenge of Unbroken, a project that a decade ago was going to star her partner, Brad Pitt, with the Coen brothers directing. The film is based on the true story of now 96-year-old Louis Zamperini, a former U.S. Olympian who shook Hitler's hand in 1936 and during World War II survived 47 days in a life raft on the Pacific Ocean after his bomber was shot down. It actually got worse when he was captured by the Japanese and endured several years of scarifying abuse in a prisoner of war camp. Jolie, whose directorial debut In the Land of Blood and Honey dealt with horrific events during the war in the former Yugoslavia, has cast the young English actor Jack O'Connell (Harry Brown, television's Skins) in what could be a career-making role.