Everest, the movie, is an international hit. Its director, Baltasar Kormákur, is half-Italian but he was born in Reykjavik. Ruth and I were in the Icelandic city of Akureyri. Everest in 3D was playing within walking distance so we went. Every seat was taken.
Everest is doing better internationally than domestically. Since its wide release on September 25, it has grossed only $39 million in the U.S. but $119 million in the rest of the world. Its total gross, so far, is well over $200 million. Because its director lives in Iceland where his movies are very popular, it’s no wonder that Everest is doing especially well there.
Everest was filmed in 3 countries: Italy, Nepal, and England. It’s Baltasar Kormákur’s 11th film. Most of them have been made and seen mainly in Iceland. A couple of them, like Contraband, are basically U.S. productions. Released in 2012, Contraband starred Mark Wahlberg and was the #1 movie at the boxoffice the week it was released. Although he reportedly has houses in other places, Kormákur is committed to living in Iceland. “Sometimes it’s hard to imagine living anywhere else,” he has said.
Kormákur has also been active in theater and TV. He has acted, written, and produced. He has won lots of awards and had many nominations. There will be more. Having directed an international hit will boost his career. He’s planning to make a movie about Vikings in Iceland soon. He has optioned Iceland’s most famous work of literature, Independent People, for filming. He’s married to Lilja Pálmadóttir, who has produced 4 of his films.
Lilja Pálmadóttir is also Icelandic. Her main passion is horses. She’s a breeder who owns 50 or so. The Kormákurs bought a farm in 2002 that once belonged to Lilja’s grandparents. They built a unique house on this property near the town of Hofsós, which has fewer than 200 residents. The house was completed in 2007. Hofsós is in Iceland’s Skagafjordur region, where horses outnumber people. Ruth loves the fact that the Kormákurs have a Bernese Mountain Dog named Bingo.
Very civic minded, Lilja provided money to help build a community swimming pool in Hofsós, which is near Akureyri. Ruth and I took a side trip while on the Ring Road that included this town. We stopped and saw the pool and were invited to swim but didn’t have time, so I just took a few pictures like the one above. We now regret not changing our schedule. The pool is beautiful with borderless edges. In fact, the lady who told us about it, Sigrun, called it an infinity pool. Swimmers clearly feel as if they’re part of the landscape.