Is there anything Selena Gomez can't do? She can sing, dance, build a makeup brand, and even cook! But as real Selenators know, Miss Gomez actually got her start in the acting world, really coming into prominence as the lead of Disney Channel's long-running children's sitcom Wizards of Waverly Place. Since then, she has starred in a variety of projects, from edgy reinventions (Harmony Korine's underrated Spring Breakers) to prestige horror films (Jim Jarmusch's The Dead Don't Die). And let's not forget that time she acted opposite Timothée Chalamet in an ill-conceived Woody Allen film. Now, Selena Gomez is putting her acting shoes back on as she gears up to star as lesbian mountaineer Silvia Vásquez-Lavado in an upcoming biopic.
Based on In the Shadow of the Mountain, the upcoming memoir by Vásquez-Lavado, the film (also titled In the Shadow of the Mountain) will find Gomez playing the now-46-year-old mountaineer, who garnered acclaim after becoming the first Peruvian woman to summit Mount Everest as well as the first openly gay woman to complete the Seven Summits — which, for those who don't know, is a challenge to climb the highest mountain on each continent.
Elgin James, who directed the Juno Temple-starring indie coming-of-age dramedy Little Birds, will write and direct the upcoming film, while Donna Gigliotti, an Oscar winner for her production work on Shakespeare In Love, will produce alongside Scott Budnick and his impact-focused company One Community. The film spoke to Budnick thanks to its focus on Vásquez-Lavado's activist work. A victim of childhood assault and neglect, Vásquez-Lavado turned to mountaineering to find direction and regain her strength and purpose. Since then, she has dedicated herself to helping other survivors, even organizing treks to the base camp at Mt. Everest for women abuse survivors.
In a statement, Donna Gigliotti said, “Silvia is a force of nature. Scott and I are so excited to work with Elgin and Selena to tell this story of resilience, courage, adventure, and humanity.” Scott Budnick echoed Gigliotti's sentiments, adding, “We are thrilled to get to work bringing Silvia’s incredible and inspiring story to life onscreen.”
For now, there is no timeline on when the upcoming film will begin production or shooting. But with the knowledge that Vásquez-Lavado's yet-to-be-published memoir is expected sometime in winter 2022, it's safe to assume that the film version of In the Shadow of the Mountain won't be hitting theaters for a considerable amount of time.