Almost 17 years after he died while comforting a client
during a blizzard on Mt Everest, Wanaka mountain climbing guide
Rob Hall will have his heroic story immortalised by Hollywood.
Academy Award-winning actor Christian Bale, who has starred
in Batman and American Psycho, will play Mr
Mr Hall died on Mt Everest in 1996 during a storm that
claimed the lives of seven others, including fellow New
Zealander Andrew Harris.
Mr Hall's decision to remain with ailing American climber
Doug Hansen instead of descending to base camp as the storm
struck was chronicled in the book Into Thin Air,
written by Jon Krakauer, a member of the climbing party.
Guy Cotter, a close friend of Mr Hall's who took over the
running of his Wanaka guiding company, Adventure Consultants,
following his death, said the movie project had been years in
Mr Cotter had been consulted during the project's early
stages and was hopeful it would be an accurate reflection of
''We've seen some fairly trashy renditions of what went on in
'96, so it is actually good to see that there are some real
professionals who want to make a real story of it rather than
just doing the standard drama that appeals to everyone's
preconceived notions of what mountaineers are like,'' Mr
''Most people close to mountaineering probably don't have a
whole lot of faith that a good climbing movie will ever be
At this stage titled Everest, the film is based on
interviews and written accounts from survivors of the
disastrous May 1996 ascent attempt.
A Working Title Films and Universal Pictures project, Everest
will be directed by Icelandic film maker Baltasar Kormakur,
whose credits include The Deep and Contraband.
Into Thin Air was made into a television movie in
1997. Mark Inglis, a contemporary of Mr Hall's who became the
first double amputee to scale Everest in 2006, said Bale was
a good choice to play the Kiwi mountaineer.
''He's a serious guy, and that's Rob,'' Mr Inglis said.
''I think it's really cool that they are doing something, but
I hope it is made in the right way.
''I hope they paint the right picture of how incredibly tough
Everest is and how incredibly tough are the decisions every
one of us make when we are on the mountain.''
Everest will be competing with another film of the
same name being made by Sony.
Based on Jeffrey Archer's book Paths Of Glory and
directed by Doug Liman, it will tell the story of George
Mallory, the British climber who died on his third attempt to
become the first man to scale Mt Everest.
Mr Hall's widow, Dr Jan Arnold, could not be reached for
comment as she is holidaying in South America. Mr Hall's
daughter, Sarah Arnold-Hall (16), was born two months after