Ethan Hawke, Daniel Radcliffe, and Jessica Biel strap in to scale the iconic peak of El Capitan in Batso

Ethan Hawke, Daniel Radcliffe, and Jessica Biel prepare to scale a world-famous cliff face for the harrowing climbing thriller Batso.


Ethan Hawke (Leave the World BehindMoon KnightThe Black Phone), Daniel Radcliffe (Guns AkimboWeird: The Al Yankovic StoryThe Lost City), and Jessica Biel (CandyThe IllusionistThe Texas Chainsaw Massacre) will pack their gear for Batso, a film based on the true story of three groundbreaking climbers who scaled the iconic peak El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in the early 1970s.

Kyle Marvin (80 for BradyAll Wrong) directs from a screenplay by Eamon O’Sullivan, with Ethan Hawke playing Warren “Batso” Harding and Daniel Radcliffe as Dean Caldwell, the first climbers to challenge the incredibly daunting sheer face El Capitan route known as “The Wall of Early Morning Light.” Meanwhile, Jessica Biel plays Beryl Knauth, a trend-setting climber and Warner’s romantic partner.

Here’s the official synopsis from Deadline‘s exclusive report:

“In 1970, ‘The Wall of Early Morning Light’ was an unthinkable climb. For larger-than-life climbing legends Warren ‘Batso’ Harding and Dean Caldwell, it represented a near-impossible physical and mental challenge. For iconoclast Batso, it also offered one last chance to stick it to the naysayers who thought him too old, too out of touch and too crazy. For novice Dean, it was a way to see beyond his 9-to-5 existence and unlock the awesome potential of the human spirit.

“What began as an almost farcical exercise became one of the great underdog stories in the history of the sport. The estimated 10-day climb stretched into a 28-day marathon of grit and determination that sparked a media sensation.”

The official Yosemite website recapped Warren and Dean’s harrowing story, saying, “The pair was forced to wait out storms while on the wall and to drill extensively through areas that looked to be more natural from the ground. They started the climb with 15 days of provisions but required 27 days to finally make the summit. The National Park Service mounted a rescue for the team when they were mid-route, but Harding and Caldwell famously refused and continued their epic ascent unaided. They were met on the summit by throngs of media.”

Wow! Can you imagine refusing help when storms threaten to knock you off a cliff face? I don’t know whether that’s guts or pure insanity. I would have had the rescue team airlift my ass out of there so quickly. You can keep your fame and pride. I’ll take safety and a stack of pancakes back at the lodge, thank you.

Are you familiar with this story of Batso? Have you ever scaled a world-famous cliffside? If you have, tell us about the experience in the comments below.

Source: Deadline

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.