Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Cross Creek and Walden Media are backing the $65 million Working Title feature for Universal, which Baltasar Kormakur is directing. Everest stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Scott Fischer, Josh Brolin as Beck Weathers, Jason Clarke as Rob Hall, and John Hawkes as Doug Hansen. Shooting starts January 13 in the Dolomites in Italy and will continue in Nepal and Iceland.

This is one of two studio-backed films titled Everest — the other being the Doug Liman-helmed pic for Sony. And on Monday, Fox landed a 10-part event series from Alcon Entertainment about a group of hikers trying to hike Mount Everest. Working Title’s feature, produced by the company’s partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, was weathering a storm just a few weeks ago, after Emmett/Furla Films had exited as co-financier and the producers were trying to secure new funding. The pic is based on the disastrous 1996 attempt to scale the world’s tallest mountain. Three different expeditions were hit by a sudden blinding storm, resulting in the deaths of eight climbers. The film will be sourced from various books and interviews with survivors. Cross Creek’s Brian Oliver and Tyler Thompson will join Bevan and Fellner as producers.

Now it’s a race to the top for the dueling Everest movies.

Related: Four Actors In Talks To Star In ‘Everest’ For Working Title

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