Another Mallory Everest film
It was back in October 2006 that we first heard about plans to make a film about George Mallory's ill fated attempt to climb Mount Everest in 1924, the climb that since the finding of his body in 1999 has been in hot debate. The topic? Whether he died climbing up to, or down from the mountain, and whether he had conquered the famous mountain without the use of oxygen.
Now we're hearing that Sony is in discussions to buy a script from screenwriter Sheldon Turner who adapted the novel by Jeffrey Archer called Paths of Glory (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) which is an historical novel based on the events of Mallory's climb and addressing the mystery that shrouds it.
George Mallory was involved in various attempts to reach the summit without the aid of oxygen and competed with George Finch to be the first to climb the 8,850 metre high mountain of Everest. However on the climb of 1924 with his partner Andrew Irvine, they succumbed to the perils of the weather and died.
It was 1999 when the body was found, and that's when the debate began as to whether he might have been the first ever man, along with Irvine, to reach the summit of Everest without the aid of oxygen, beating Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay who are credited with the achievement in 1953.
There are various reasons for the debate, but the biggest one is that Mallory carried with him a photograph of his wife which he had promised to place on the summit, except when his body was found there was no photo in any of his possessions or about him, and yet there were many other personal items frozen with him.
Other reasons are that it appears Mallory fell from below Irvine before he died, and that suggests they may have been descending. Also due to the absence of snow goggles on Mallory, and comparing the time that they started the ascent to when nightfall would have made these goggles useless, it would suggest they were climbing down the mountain.
It makes for an interesting debate, and possibly an interesting film that will look at the endurance and possible unrecognised achievement of the two men.
The previous story tells us that Paul Heller was producing the film which would have been shot around Tibet and the production manager of the Indian production of the film was set to be the son of Nepali Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.
Back then the script was coming from James McEachen who was also set to direct, a man who had several documentaries to his name and was also a climber himself, now though it's either all change, or this project just died on the slopes too.
It does look like it's an entirely new attempt at the film, since The Hollywood Reporter tells us that it's being taken from a Jeffrey Archer novel instead of McEachen's script, still, despite the Archer association, this could be a fascinating and moving film about the human spirit and endurance, as well as providing a real life mystery, something that everyone loves to see and hear about.
However two things concern me, the source material being an Archer novel, and Sheldon Turner wrote The Longest Yard, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, and has X-Men Origins: Magneto in the works, not exactly what you would expect for the film considering its subject matter.