Idris Elba in Talks for the Lead in The Mountain Between Us


Idris Elba

Idris Elba in talks for the lead in The Mountain Between Us

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation, “Luther”) is in talks to take the male lead in The Mountain Between Us, an adaptation of the Charles Martin novel. Paradise Now director Hany Abu-Assad is still attached to direct, although Rosamund Pike and Elba’s Pacific Rim co-star Charlie Hunnam are no longer in the frame to star and a new female lead is currently being sought.

Published in 2010, The Mountain Between Us is officially described as follows:

On a stormy winter night, two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport. Ashley Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying East for her much anticipated wedding. Dr. Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to return home to Jacksonville, FL for a slate of surgeries he has scheduled for the following day.

When the last outgoing flight is canceled due to a broken de-icer and a forthcoming storm, Ben finds a charter plane that can take him around the storm and drop him in Denver to catch a connection. And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more, if barely, Ben offers the seat to Ashley knowing that she needs to get back just as urgently. And then the unthinkable happens. The pilot has a heart attack mid-flight and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness — one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States.

Ben, who has broken ribs and Ashley, who suffers a terrible leg fracture, along with the pilot’s dog, are faced with an incredibly harrowing battle to survive. Fortunately, Ben is a medical professional and avid climber (and in a lucky break, has his gear from a climb earlier in the week). With little hope for rescue, he must nurse Ashley back to health and figure out how they are going to get off the mountain, where the temperature hovers in the teens. Meanwhile, Ashley soon realizes that the very private Ben has some serious emotional wounds to heal as well. He explains to Ashley that he is separated from his beloved wife, but in a long standing tradition, he faithfully records messages for her on his voice recorder reflecting on their love affair. As Ashley eavesdrops on Ben’s tender words to his estranged wife she comes to fear that when it comes to her own love story, she’s just settling. And what’s more: she begins to realize that the man she is really attracted to, the man she may love, is Ben.

As the days on the mountains become weeks, their survival becomes increasingly perilous. How will they make it out of the wilderness and if they do, how will this experience change them forever?

Set up through Fox 2000 and Chernin Entertainment, The Mountain Between Us features an adapted screenplay by Scott Frank and J. Mills Goodloe, with a rewrite by Chris Weitz. Peter Chernin, David Reading and Jenno Topping are, meanwhile, set to produce with production currently targeted for this summer in the wintery Southern Hemisphere.

Elba will next be heard as a voice actor in two Disney releases, The Jungle Book and Finding Dory, before hiding his face under a lot of make-up to play the villainous alien Krall in Star Trek Beyond. He is also expected to take the coveted lead role of gunslinger Roland Deschain in Sony’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower.

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