'Everest' Director Criticizes "Oscar Bait" Filmmaking

Baltasar Kormakur

"I just want to make a film that lives on its own merit," says director Baltasar Kormakur.

"This film is not the bread and butter of Hollywood," Everest director Baltasar Kormakur told the audience before the film made its U.S. premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on Wednesday night.

While he thanked Universal for making the movie, he reminded fans in the crowd that a movie like Everest doesn't typically get made in Hollywood.

"I think it's very courageous of the studio to invest in a movie like this. It's really hard to get these films made, this is not an obvious choice," Kormakur told The Hollywood Reporter.

The director also said the film was not made merely to be a potential Oscar-nominated title. 

"I kind of, maybe it's my problem I'm kind of fighting against that in my heart to fall for the kind of Oscar bait movies," he said, elaborating: "There is a certain kind of famous man with a little bit of a tick or something and a retarded genius, whatever it is, you know it's really the Oscar bait thing ... I just want to make a film that lives on its own merit."

The film, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke, Robin Wright, Keira Knightley and Michael Kelly, centers around the true and tragic story of Rob Hall (Clarke), Beck Weathers (Brolin), and Jon Krakauer's (Kelly) journey up Mount Everest in 1996. 

"I did a lot of serious climbing to know what I was doing," Clarke said of the shoot. 

Naoko Mori who plays Yasuko Namba added, "We have a responsibility to make sure it's accurate and true to them. Certainly this film was an immersive job."

"When it's fictional you can make up a lot of stuff and go with your gut instinct and with this you got to really dig. They didn't want me to do his voice, his mannerisms, so I wanted to learn about the way he thinks and expresses himself," added Kelly. 

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