The new movie “Everest” is based on the deadly 1996 Everest climb, but is it accurate? Outside Magazine’s contributing editor Nick Heil, the author of “Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest’s Most Controversial Season,” weighed in on the film and his conversations with its stars.
FOX411: Tell us about the deadliest climb. How many people died trying to conquer Everest?
Nick Heil: So, this took place in 1996 and there were eight people who died on this day. They were caught in a very sudden, very intense storm and stranded high on the mountain. The story is largely about the efforts to get down from this mountain and who made it and who didn’t.
FOX411: Why did you become so enthralled with the tale?
Heil: This is really a classic climbing story. It goes back to the early days of commercial climbing on Mt. Everest. It’s an extraordinary cast of characters from professional mountain guides to amateurs paying thousands of dollars to get up to the summit for their bucket list. So, you have this incredible mix of ingredients from incredible characters to one of the most exotic and dramatic settings on Earth with circumstances you really couldn’t make up. So, all of the ingredients to have an incredible story.
FOX411: You spoke with the stars of the film Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke, and the director. What do you learn about the film making process for such an epic undertaking?
Heil: It was incredibly technically challenging to pull off this movie and they were committed to making it as authentic and true to life as they could, so they were filming on location in Nepal. They shot high in the Italian Dolomites. For the actors especially they’re not used to shooting in these kinds of extreme environments and it really became quite an adventure for them. I think they were surprised by just how intense this could all be. They got a real taste of what it’s like to be in the mountains, and I think they had a real sense of adventure. They came away from it kind of bonded, excited and enthused, and they got a sense of what is to be up on Everest.
FOX411: Do you think any of the actors could actually survive a climb to the Everest summit?
Heil: The guys that I talked to Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke and even the director these guys are actually all pretty fit, ruddy, hardy guys who love the outdoors and with the proper preparation and training they probably could do pretty well in extreme environments.
FOX411: So, how on point is the film versus the true tale?
Heil: It’s fairly accurate. Obviously, they had to compress some things, move some things around even take some narrative or creative liberties with the storytelling for dramatic purposes. This is not a documentary. This is a Hollywood feature film. Some things are fictionalized. Some things are stretched a little bit and they needed to do this in order for the story remain coherent and for people to follow the characters along, and really to sort of maintain the integrity of the narrative but as far as what actually went down on Everest in 1996 these events are true.