The upcoming CBC miniseries Everest chronicles the 1982 Canadian expedition to the top of the world's highest mountain. Surprisingly, the most arduous part of the film shoot was not scaling mountains, but sitting in tents.
"The stuff up on the mountain was easy compared to that," laughed Eric Johnson (Flash Gordon, Smallville), who plays Laurie Skreslet, the first Canadian to summit. "Being in your full Everest gear, your summit costume, while being in a tent inside a studio in Calgary in June ... . Don't sweat, because if you sweat on Everest, you're dead. I'm trying to get my pores to not work for me. I'm trying to get my pores to act for me. Those were the most challenging scenes."
Director Graeme Campbell (Instant Star, The Eleventh Hour) said the weather cooperated beautifully for the physically demanding but breathtakingly beautiful mountain scenes near Banff. "It might look like it was hard when you watch the movie, but that was magic."
During an interview with TV, eh? on Blogtalkradio, the two men revealed that their small taste of that magic helped them understand why someone would embark on such a dangerous quest, one that saw four climbers perish before Skreslet and fellow Canuck Pat Morrow made it to the top.
"There's this amazing feeling when you're standing on top of a mountain, whether it's 5,000 feet or 10,000 feet or on Everest, where you feel like you're on top of the world and it's the most exhilarating feeling in the world," marvelled Johnson. "I'd never really understood. In preparation to do the movie, I thought you've got to be a little bit nuts to do this. You've got to be a little bit crazy. And then you get into it and you get the gear on and you start climbing, and you're climbing with a group of guys and it really becomes intoxicating and you just want to keep going up."