Director Doug Liman still has his eyes on making a movie in space with Tom Cruise, but before that happens, he’s looking at a different type of adventure. Liman has Ewan McGregor, Mark Strong and Sam Heughan ready to star in Everest.

Up In The Airs Sheldon Turner wrote the script for the new film, which will chronicle how explorer and mountaineer George Mallory (McGregor) is picked by the Royal Geographic Society’s Arthur Hinks (Strong) to restore British pride by scaling the impossible. But as Mallory and his eccentric Australian rival George Finch (Heughan) will discover, it’s a real test of self.

Climbing without oxygen, to heights not even planes can reach, Mallory‘s successive attempts to make the summit sees a challenge become an all-consuming obsession. It leads Mallory to abandon his beloved wife and three children for months on end, give up his job, and push his body to the limits of human endurance. Everest becomes a very real monster for Mallory, his 45 degree climb to the peak is an inhuman mix of vertigo and nerve-shredding tension, requiring all of his fearlessness and audacity. It takes everything from him for reasons he can barely articulate: because it’s grander than him, it’s the last empty part of the map, and as he simply puts it — “because it’s there.”

Self-proclaimed “climbing nut” Liman plans to start shooting in the UK and Italy next January, though perhaps the biggest mountain to climb right now might be the fact that a movie called Everest already exists, the 2015 based-on-truth tale directed by Baltasar Kormákur

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