”I get terrible vertigo. I hate the snow. and I hate helicopters,” says Campbell, listing his reasons FOR making this high altitude action flick in his native New Zealand. ”It was better than filming some cop show in bloody L.A.” Plus, he loved the plot: After his father’s tragic death in a climbing accident, a young man (O’Donnell) gives up mountaineering but is called back to K2 — the world’s second highest mountain, and widely considered more dangerous than Mount Everest — to rescue his sister (Tunney) and her summit team, who are trapped in a crevasse at 26,000 feet.
Although the production began at a mere 12,000 feet on Mount Cook, shooting was no picnic. ”We were at the mercy of the weather,” says Campbell, whose crew faced a blizzard in August and had to transport camera equipment up and down the peak daily by helicopter. Adds O’Donnell, who was bummed at the ”no skiing on your day off” rule imposed by the producers, ”What was extreme about it was being dumped on this little ledge for seven hours without a trailer to go hide in.” GOOD SIGN With nature as the tyrant, this could be ”The Perfect Snow Storm.” THEN AGAIN It may leave audiences wishing they’d gotten ”Into Thin Air.”