Selena Gomez embodies the iconic, gay mountaineer Silvia Vasquez-Lavado
The climber was the first Peruvian to ascend Everest and the first LGBTQ woman to complete the Seven Summits Challenge.
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"A force of nature," is how Oscar-winning Donna Gigliotti (Shakespeare In Love, 1998) described iconic mountain climber Silvia Vasquez-Lavado, whose story of achievement and high peaks will be made into a film. Gigliotti will be the producer and the script and direction will be done by Elgin James (Little Birds and Mayan's M.C.).
The movie, based on the upcoming memoirs of the Peruvian mountaineer, who was the first openly-LGBTQ woman to overcome the Seven Summits challenge, climbing the highest peaks of each continent, will be titled In the Shadow of the Mountain. It has been announced that Selena Gomez will play the role of the climber.
Gomez, who despite her youth has become a key figure in the fight for the Latino rights in the United States and against immigration laws — producing, among others, the documentary series Living Undocumented — will also participate in the executive production of the film.
The memories of Vásquez-Lavado will see the light in the winter of 2022.
When Silvia was just a girl, she was sexually abused. The trauma made her want to be on the mountain all the time because, as she would discover when she reached her first peaks, the height and challenge gave her security and "feelings of protection that she had never felt before," the climber explained to EFE in 2016, when she became the first Peruvian woman to reach the summit of Everest.
That same year, the mountaineer decided to share her triumph with a group of women from San Francisco, where she lives, who were also survivors of sexual violence. Vasquez-Lavado led the group to Nepal and from there, she led the climb to Everest to help them find the same "strength and confidence."
She's also aware that machismo in mountaineering is a reality and the best way to confront fear is to look it in the face
"In the mountains there is not only a physical part but also a mental part, because fear and insecurity can overshadow you," she said.
The Peruvian also works as a philanthropist and offers therapeutic assistance to women who have suffered abuse through the NGO Courageous Girls by promoting the connection with nature.
"I feel so humbled and grateful to share this exciting news, which has been working for the last 10 months: an all-star team has chosen my upcoming memoirs In The Shadow of the Mountain for a film adaptation. I am so honored and touched by the bold, talented and brilliant Selena Gomez in taking the starring role," wrote the mountaineer on Instagram, praising the work of the film team.
The Hollywood Reporter also announced that the story of "endurance, courage, adventure and humanity" will be co-produced by Scott Budnick's company, One Community, which together with Gigliotti's Tempesta Films, promise to reach similar high peaks as its protagonist.