Distrib buys pic about Everest climber

National Geographic Ent. has acquired “The Wildest Dream,” which explores George Mallory’s obsession with becoming the first person to reach the peak of Mt. Everest.

It’s the third acquisition for the newly recast distrib, which opens Cherien Dabis’ “Amreeka” in New York and Los Angeles today and “City of Life and Death” in early 2010.

Mallory’s remembered as having said, “Because it’s there” in reply to the question “Why do you want to climb Mt. Everest?” He and his climbing partner disappeared in 1924; they were 800 feet from the Everest summit before the clouds closed in.

“The Wildest Dream” is directed by Anthony Geffen and produced by Geffen and Claudia Perkins, with Mike Medavoy exec producing. Story’s told through the explorer’s letters to his wife, Ruth; previously unseen photos; and film from 1924 and from the 1999 expedition led by Conrad Anker, who found Mallory’s body on Everest.

“Dream” is narrated by Liam Neeson, with the voices of Ralph Fiennes as Mallory, the late Natasha Richardson as Ruth Mallory, Hugh Dancy as Mallory’s fellow climber and Alan Rickman as the last person to see Mallory alive.

NGE said the film is dedicated to Richardson.

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