Touch the Top of the World

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Photo by Ken Woroner

Touch the Top of the World


On Sunday, June 18 at 8 PM/7 Central, A&E Network will broadcast the world premiere of TOUCH THE TOP OF THE WORLD, a suspenseful, action-packed film based on the first blind person ever to climb Mount Everest. Peter Facinelli (Six Feet Under, Fastlane, The Scorpion King) plays Erik Weihenmayer.

In 2001, Erik Weihenmayer began his ascent up the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest. Erik’s journey began very early in life when he was diagnosed with a genetic disorder that ultimately led to total blindness by the time he was 13. With the support of an amazing family, Erik never allowed his handicap to hold him back. His mom defiantly fought to keep Erik in school with his fellow students. His father encouraged him to remain physically active, and he went on to become a champion wrestler in high school. In the wake of the sudden death of his mother, Erik and his family began taking climbing trips to keep their lives intact. Soon Erik was taking on greater challenges, including mountain climbing, while finishing college and starting his teaching career.

After conquering numerous major peaks, Erik decided to confront his biggest challenge -- Mount Everest. He was joined by several of his climbing buddies who risked their own lives in this pursuit. Along the journey, the team faced unbearably treacherous conditions, but Erik and his colleagues finally made it to the top of Mount Everest, quite literally the top of the world.

The A&E Original Movie TOUCH THE TOP OF THE WORLD is based on Erik Weihenmayer’s memoir of the same name. The screenplay is by Peter Silverman, multiple Emmy-nominee whose credits include Something The Lord Made, We Were The Mulvaneys, and Hill Street Blues. The director is Peter Winther, whose production credits include a number of major Hollywood blockbusters, from Independence Day to Godzilla to The Patriot.

A&E’s homepage now has a whole mini-site up with all sorts of film, photos, and copy about the film, about Erik, and about the actors.

To film the story of Erik Weihenmayer, the first and only blind man to climb Mount Everest, A&E has put a couple of uncanny look-alikes to work. For openers, the Canadian Rocky Mountains are doubling for Everest in Touch the Top of the World, an A&E Original Movie premiering Summer 2006. "It's an awesome choice," says Weihenmayer, whose mountain-climbing exploits have inspired thousands. "I've climbed a lot of the peaks there and, with the right camera angles, they definitely could pass for Everest."

But what really made people do double takes was actor Peter Facinelli and Erik Weihenmayer standing side by side on set while the movie was in production.

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