No stranger to searching for the elusive North Pole following his role in 2003’s Elf, Deadline brings word that Will Ferrell has set sights on the arctic circle once more, only this time for an entirely different breed of comedy.
Setting up shop at Sony Pictures, the feature film charts the harrowing adventure of six middle-aged men in the late ’60s, who throw caution to the bitter-cold wind and plot a dangerous expedition to one of the most inhospitable locations on the planet.
Lifting inspiration from a The New York Times Magazine article chronicling the real-life expedition – one penned by Guy Lawson – the tentative title for Sony’s seemingly light-hearted survival drama is An Insurance Salesman and a Doctor Walk Into a Bar, and End Up at the North Pole: The Story of an Accidentally Pioneering Expedition.
Anchoring the tale is Ralph Plaisted (Ferrell, presumably), an insurance salesman who brought together a lawyer, a schoolteacher, a doctor and a movie cameraman for the trip of a lifetime. Against all odds, Plaisted became the first expedition to traverse the North Pole by surface travel, and this extract from Lawson’s piece sheds light on the trials and tribulations they faced along the way.
“Traveling through the twilight of the late arctic winter, the men encountered frozen fiords as well as daunting ice ridges more than 40 feet high,” continues the obituary. “Often they had to shove their 250-pound snowmobiles up and over steep inclines by hand. At times, men and machines fell through the ice. Once, they were confined to their tents for six days, waiting out an arctic storm…. Their biggest challenge, aside from the cold, was crossing gaps in the restless ice, sometimes eight to 10 feet wide over water as deep as two miles. They got across by gunning their snowmobiles and soaring like arctic Evil Knievels.”
It’s not the first of Lawson’s articles to receive the big-screen treatment, after Arms and the Dudes was spun out into a feature film. Entitled War Dogs and directed by Todd Phillips, look for the wartime dramedy to touch down later this year.
On the heels of reprising his role as the wonderfully eccentric Jacobim Mugatu for comedy sequel Zoolander 2, Will Ferrell can next be seen in James Franco’s Zeroville. A trip to the North Pole could be on the cards, too, and we’ll keep you posted as this story develops.