How do you get involved with Sweetgrass Productions’ two-year project in South America?
Nick Waggoner just emailed me. I had seen Signatures and was amazed with their style, and I could tell that Nick had a vision for Solitaire.
Had you been to South America before filming with Sweetgrass?
Working with these guys was my fourth trip to Peru. The mountains there are just mind-blowing, and the Andes have a mystical draw. I fell in love with the food and the people; South America offers the whole package. And you can launch an expedition relatively easily, compared to launching one in the Himalaya.
What is the landscape like in Peru?
The zones we went to were all inspired by my previous trips to the Cordillera Huayhuash, which is one of the classic treks in the Andes. The Huayhuash has high-mountain paths with spectacular landscapes. I scoped some stuff out in 1998 and 1999 when I was down there with a buddy from La Grave.
So these lines you saw while trekking through Peru in ’98 and ’99 came to mind when you and Nick first started discussing filming in Peru?
Yes. In 1999, I saw these lines that went up into the clouds and I theorized about them. I always wanted to go back. When Nick said, “I want something rugged,” the first thing that I said was, “Let’s go to the Huayhuash and look at these theoretical lines.”