Apple Picks Up Tom Hiddleston's 'Tenzing'

Tom Hiddleston as Freddie Page in a pub in 'The Deep Blue Sea'

Tom Hiddleston as Freddie Page in 'The Deep Blue Sea'

Music Box Films/Film4

Unless you are in the movie business, the concept of a film festival probably seems super esoteric. The idea that there are nearly enough that one could attend almost year-round would probably knock most people's socks off. Only a few festivals are famous enough for people outside the business to have casually heard of them: Sundance, for example, which was started by Robert Redford, and Cannes, the second oldest film festival in existence, which takes place in the south of France, are probably the most famous. However, it's not all stars walking red carpets and standing ovations for films that last somewhere in the 7 to 10-minute range. These festivals are where producers bring their ideas for movies they want to get made in hopes of getting deep-pocketed studios to sign on to fund them; the most extreme of these is the Cannes Market, known for some of the most ludicrous pie-in-the-sky pitches that will never happen.

With the writer's strike already underway in 2023, last year's Cannes Market was a relatively thin affair, full of fantasy ideas that never came to fruition or packages that would be on hold for a long time. (Sorry to those who want to see Benedict Cumberbatch star in The Thing With Feathers. We hear it's being filmed in 2024. As we say, Better Late Than Never!) Meanwhile, it's hard to know which projects will happen. A film with no plot or title, but Henry Cavill has signed onto with Guy Richie directing? That turned into The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. Meanwhile, what seemed like a surefire production, Bella Ramsey in Monstrous Beauty, hasn't been heard from in nearly a year.

The only projects one can count on are the ones that sell to high-profile distributors. This kind comes with a blast press release, like when Neon bought Anatomy of a Fall straight from the competition lineup, which racked up Academy Award nominations. That's good news for Tenzing, the 1950s-set film about Sir Edmund Hillary's successful conquering of Mount Everest, which came to the Cannes Market with Tom Hiddleston signed on to play Hillary...but no one in the titular role of Tenzing Norgay, the Sherpa who got him there.

Tenzing was acquired before the festival officially opened. Apple took on the project despite not having a full cast attached and only a vague notion of filming in the spring of 2025. However, it’s a good bet that Apple’s real attraction to the project, apart from Hiddleston, who has headlined multiple Apple series, is the director, filmmaker Jennifer Peedom, who made the 2015 documentary Sherpa. The trust she built with the community that depends on the mountain for their living was instrumental in gaining the exclusive rights to tell Tenzing’s story via his family.

Here’s the film’s synopsis:

Tibetan-born Tenzing Norgay, alongside New Zealand mountaineer Edmund Hillary, both outsiders on a British Expedition, defied insurmountable odds to achieve what was once thought impossible, reaching the summit of the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest. After six previous attempts, Tenzing risked everything for one final venture. He had to navigate treacherous politics and perilous weather as he embarked on the most significant climb of his life. Through it all, he did so with humor, warmth, and generosity towards his fellow climbers, but also deep reverence and respect for the sacred Mother Goddess of his Mountain, Chomolungma.

Alongside Hiddleston, American actor Willem Dafoe (Poor Things) also signed on to play English expedition leader Colonel John Hunt.

Luke Davies (Lion) penned the script, with Peedom directing. Both are executive producers alongside Norbu Tenzing, son of the late Tenzing Norgay, Simon Gillis, David Michôd, plus Liz Watts, Emile Sherman, and Iain Canning for See-Saw Films.

Tenzing will probably hit theaters in late 2025 or early 2026.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

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