With the fall festival season approaching, distributors and festival organizers are working towards filling premiere slots. The 2015 Venice Film Festival– the annual event turning 72 this year– has named Everest, a fact-based action-adventure drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler), Jason Clarke (Terminator: Genisys) and Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game), as its opening night feature. The Universal Pictures/Working Title film will premiere out-of-competition on September 2nd. Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kornákur (2 Guns, Contraband) directed the title.
Inspired by the true events of the tragic 1996 multi-expedition trek to climb the world’s highest mountain that became the ultimate survival test when a dangerous snowstorm hit, Everest aims to evoke visual splendor matched by anguishing heartbreak. Jon Krakauer’s best-selling non-fiction account Into Thin Air served as the basis for a screenplay that was credited to Oscar nominee Mark Medoff (Children of a Lesser God) and Oscar winner Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire). The film was shot on location in Nepal on the foothills of Mt. Everest, in the Italian Alps, the historic Rome-set Cinecittà Studios and the equally historic U.K. based Pinewood Studios. The all-star ensemble cast includes Sam Worthington (Avatar), House of Cards co-stars Robin Wright and Michael Kelly and Oscar nominees Josh Brolin (Milk), John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone) and Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves).
This marks a fairly big coup for not just Universal/Working Title, but for Venice Film Festival organizers as well, promising a star-studded premiere. The past two years, Venice has had significant openers as well– last year, eventual Oscar winner Birdman opened the festival while the year before saw the world premiere of Alfonso Cuarón’s multi-Oscar winning blockbuster Gravity. This years’ other most prominent festival slot placement announcement came from the New York Film Festival, which will open this year with the world premiere of Robert Zemeckis’ The Walk staring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The Venice Film Festival runs this year from September 2nd to the 12th, with the full line-up expected to be announced on July 29th.
Everest will open stateside on September 18, 2015, opening exclusively in IMAX 3-D and large format 3-D theaters before opening wide on September 25th. Check out the trailer below.