Jake Gyllenhaal's Survival Drama 'Everest' To Open The Venice Film Festival

Everest, the disaster drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jason Clarke, has been chosen as the opening night film for this year's Venice Film Festival. Based on true events, Everest tells the story of mountain climbers who find themselves caught in one of the worst snowstorms ever encountered. The script for the film starring Jake Gyllenhaal was adapted from five non-fiction books about the events that took place.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Jason Clarke are leaders of two rival expedition teams who must fight for their lives during a snowstorm on their way to the top of Mount Everest. The film is chock full of stars, with Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright, and Emily Watson also starring.

Opening night for the Venice festival is a highly coveted spot. Previous films opening in Venice have gone on to become serious Oscar contenders. Birdman was last year's Venice festival opener and won Oscars for best picture and best director. The year before that, Gravity opened and later won an Oscar for best director.

Jake Gyllenhaal often takes on roles that glimpse the darker side of life such as the films Nightcrawler, Donnie Darko, and Zodiac. In an interview with Details magazine, with Jake on the cover for the August 2015 issue, Gyllenhaal explains what leads him to those challenging roles he takes on -- roles that are both physically and emotionally taxing for Gyllenhaal.

"There's a period of time in your life, in your twenties, when you're listening to a lot of other people's opinions. You're not sure about what you believe in, and you're moving in a direction that you feel like looks right to other people. And then you think, Wait, what do I feel? What do I want? What moves me? It's not always so pure and clear. It's not like I have my agent on one shoulder and my pure artist on the other."
Everest was shot in Nepal on the foothills of Everest, the Italian Alps, and at Cinecittà Studios in Rome and Pinewood Studios in the U.K.

"Balt [Baltasar Kormákur] wanted to make the movie in the real environments. I didn't want to be sitting on a soundstage making some fake movie about Mount Everest, and he didn't do that," Jake says.

Of Jake Gyllenhaal, Kormákur says, "Jake was tough. He went to the limit. It's all real. His nose was frozen, his beard was frozen, and we were blowing more snow over him, but he wouldn't give up. And then he wanted to improvise--improvise in minus 30!"

Before Everest releases, you can catch Jake Gyllenhaal in Southpaw, where Gyllenhaal plays an angry boxer whose life is falling apart around him. Southpaw hits theaters July 24.

[Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]