Interview: Leanne Pooley

Beyond the Edge is now showing in theatres

How old were you when you first heard about Sir Edmund Hillary’s ascent of Mt Everest?

LP: You know I don’t know. It’s so much a part of our psyche; I wouldn’t be able to say if I were honest.

Where were the filming locations?

LP: We had two separate shoots. We did a big drama shoot in the South Island of New Zealand in the area around Mt Cook. And then we had a crew that went to Mt. Everest and my crew filmed the whole journey up the mountain. So we shot in both places and we mixed the material together.

In the film itself do you just use the actors acting out the events or do you use archive footage or did you try blend it together?

LP: We blend it together. We’ve got archive footage from the 1953 film Conquest of Everest which was the crew which was actually on the expedition. We’ve got stills that were from the expedition as well; and we mix all the elements together. Seamlessly we like to think.

Did the cast assembled embody the characters they represented?

LP: They really did. Chad Moffit who plays Sir Ed, it’s uncanny how much he looks like Sir Ed. And aside from looking like him, he’s a lot like Sir Ed. He’s a little bit shy and a little bit sort of self-effacing and just slightly awkward. But he’s also very driven and very focused. And Sonam, who plays Tenzing Norgay, he also really looks like a young Tenzing Norgay and he too is just a really lovely lovely man. And what people used to say about Tenzing is he had this unbelievable smile and real charisma and Sonam has that as well.

I see you do a lot of interviews with family members and people as well on the expedition?

LP: With the people who are alive I did all those. Then with the people who were actually on the expedition, like John Hunt’s those are all archive interviews.

Has this inspired you to do some mountaineering?

LP: No, actually quite the opposite (laughs). The more I learned about it, the more I learned about how difficult it was. People tend to think now, well there’s 90 year old grandmothers doing it. But it’s still very dangerous. So I won’t be doing it anytime soon. It’s a dangerous environment and it’s a live environment. Things are changing all the time.

How many times have you seen the film yourself?

LP: Oh God. In the making of it I saw it many, many, many times. In the production stage I saw it heaps. With an audience I’ve seen it about four times.

I noticed that Gravity and Beyond the Edge really bring the movies to life a lot more than they would if it was just in 2D.

LP: Yeah, well I’m hoping people go to see Beyond the Edge in 3D because some people are a little nervous about 3D. But in Beyond the Edge it’s really about the environment. Most people aren’t going to go to the Himilayas anytime soon but the movie does give us the opportunity to take that journey alongside Sir Ed and Tenzing.

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