Jake Gyllenhaal was scared he would get frostbite on the set of Everest.
The 34-year-old plays Scott Fischer in the biographical drama, which also stars Josh Brolin and Jason Clarke. The actors spent a large portion of the movie on the side of real mountains at high altitudes, and Jake admits it was a tough job.
“You don’t have to act much when you’re at the real altitude and it’s minus 20,” he confessed to British magazine Empire. “At points in time it got so cold that we were on the edge of frostbite. You get a little scared, you know? And that fear is an interesting feeling.”
Jake’s character was the leader of the 1996 Mountain Madness expedition, one of several groups competing to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain. Jason plays the leader of opposing team Adventure Consultants and the film documents their journey and the tragic events that left eight people dead.
To try and keep it as authentic as possible, the production made it to 16,000 feet up Everest, which stands at just over 29,000 feet. Everyone experienced a number of symptoms the climbers really faced, including fatigue, dizziness and insomnia.
“There’s something trying about it,” Josh, 47, added. “We all lost 15lb up there, even though we were eating more than we usually did. Your body’s just working so hard.”
Director Baltasar Kormákur also struggled, but tried to hide it from the rest of the cast.
“We couldn’t have the time we need to acclimatise. The actors were getting really moody, and people started getting sick,” he confessed. “Real sick. Myself, I was just trying to fake that I was alright, not showing that my head was splitting. Finally I tried to shoot a small scene outside a tent and it was the worst scene I’ve ever shot in my entire life. It was not usable in any way. After seeing the footage I was like, ‘This is no way to put this film together.’”
– Cover Media