Will Ferrell could be headed back to the North Pole, and this time he won’t have to dress like one of Santa’s elves.
Sony Pictures is reportedly developing a movie based on the story of a group of middle-aged men who endeavored to become the first undisputed team to make it to the North Pole by surface travel back in 1968. Ferrell is expected to star in the film, which is based on an article published in The New York Times Magazine titled “An Insurance Salesman and a Doctor Walk Into a Bar, and End Up at the North Pole: The Story of an Accidentally Pioneering Expedition.”
Penned by Guy Lawson, the article that inspired the film chronicled the true tale of Minnesota insurance salesman Ralph Plaisted, who conspired with a group of drinking buddies to ride their snowmobiles to the North Pole. They eventually became the first, undisputed team to reach the North Pole over the surface.
Deadline reports that the studio has yet to confirm a screenwriter or director for the project, but the involvement of the Elf and Anchorman star will almost certainly move things along.
The story of Plaisted’s journey to the North Pole is the sort of stranger-than-fiction tale that seems made for Hollywood. With Plaisted leading the team, the group’s roster included Dr. Art Aufderhiede, snowmobile dealer Walter Pederson, geography teacher Gerry Pitzel, French-Canadian Jean Luc Bombardier (the nephew of the Ski-Doo snowmobile inventor), and electronics engineer Don Powellek. The decision to make the journey was the result of a night of drinking in which Aufderhiede challenged Plaisted’s assertion that a team riding snowmobiles could make it all the way to the North Pole.
While the expedition received some backing from sponsors — including a generous supply of whiskey for the journey — the team’s quest was famously snubbed by the National Geographic Society, which had supported an earlier, and more famous, dogsled expedition by Robert Peary that many (including Plaisted) have called into question over the years.
Plaisted and his team of amateur explorers crossed more than 425 miles of ice in order to reach the North Pole. It’s expected that Ferrell will take on the role of the team’s leader for the film.