Hollywood Takes Another Stab at the Climbing Thriller

posted by dpm on 04/19/2012

The movie "Cliffhanger" is badass. If you don’t like it, you should probably get your head checked. How could you not love seeing Stallone fire a bolt gun into a bad guy’s face or free-soloing an icy cliff? Yes, there are a lot of technicalities that are wrong, I guess. There aren’t any bolt guns in real life and harness buckles don’t just peel apart and break. But you have to admit that it’s half the fun, knowing that you’re probably the only person in the theatre that realizes just how many liberties were taken with the reality of climbing. Hollywood has traditionally had a really hard time keeping reality in check when producing climbing films.

“Touching the Void” –the true story of a 1985 ascent of Siula Grande where one man famously “cut the rope”- is about the only exception. It was narrated by the actual climbers and the details were spot on. But there were no nitro-glycerin bombs like in “Vertical Limit” so the entertainment value was a little bit cheapened in my eyes. I like seeing Hollywood and climbing hit head on. The ensuing disaster leaves me in stitches. Check out this clip of Bear Grylls climbing some tower in Moab. Click the image for video.

Did you know Bear Grylls climbed Mt. Everest at the age of 23? He actually has some climbing experience but they still managed to completely falsify a true climbing experience. No belayer? Dragging a 20-foot piece of rope in a dash to the summit? No climbing shoes?

Hollywood is ready to take another stab at the climbing-based thriller and I for one can’t wait. The movie “Hidden Mountain” is currently in the very early stages of development. It’s being produced by Steve Schwartz, a former AAC board member, who also produced the movie “The Road." Casting Coordinator Abbey Smith mentioned that they are going to great lengths to portray reality in the climbing scenes. To do that, they are casting real climbers. In early February, over 70 climbers showed up at the Eldorado Springs Art Center to meet with the London-based Director Colm McCarthy. Since then, the casting call has been opened to climbers all over the world.

Abbey sees this as a unique opportunity for actual climbers to make it onto the big screen. She explains, “Specific to the US, we are looking for 20-40 year old male and female climbers who are comfortable with exposure on the mountain and in front of the camera. We are casting for the lead roles in this climbing horror film. No specific climbing level or acting experience is required. The auditions are being held remotely right now. The location for the call backs depends on where everyone is located, and cannot be determined at this point. Those who are interested need to email me their full name, age, hometown, phone number and email address and I will send them the audition information.”

If you’re interested about trying out for a part, email Abbey at: hiddenmountainfilm@gmail.com. Who knows it could be the next "Cliffhanger?"