Renowned singer, actress and model Selena Gomez is taking a step back from the music studio and getting back in front of the camera in a new film written and directed by Elgin James. This new project titled, "In The Shadow of the Mountain" will follow the life of Silvia Vasquez-Lavado, the first gay woman to complete the Seven Summits which are considered the highest mountains on each of the seven continents.
Gomez will be taking on the role as producer alongside Scott Budnick and Donna Gigliotti. The biopic is set to follow Lavado’s upcoming memoir that’s expected to be published in the winter of 2022. Lavado and Lara Love Hardin will serve as executive producers. In addition, the filmmakers have recruited Elgin James, the writer-director of Little Birds and co-creator of FX’s Mayan’s M.C., to join both the writing and directing team.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gigliotti is ecstatic to be working on this project stating, “Silvia is a force of nature. Scott and I are so excited to work with Elgin and Selena to tell this story of resilience, courage, adventure and humanity.”
While many die hard fans are excited for the opportunity Gomez has been offered, others feel that an LGBTQ actor should have been casted for the part.
Twitter user @gaabrielrules writes, “But Selena isn’t gay. I wish they would give unknown LGBTQ actors a chance at playing such a defining role. I love Selena I just wish this casting straight actors in LGBTQ roles phase would end! Love Simon, Brokeback Mountain, and so many more good films using straight actors.
Another user @kristenmoratti writes, “would have liked to see an actual Peruvian or even an actual gay actress get this part. not everything needs to be given to well known faces.
Some fans are even going as far as questioning her sexuality after an interview resurfaced with PrideSource back in October of 2015. When asked if she questions her sexuality, Gomez responds, “I think everybody does, no matter who they are. I do, yeah, of course. Absolutely.”
Nonetheless, Silvia Lavado seems to be overjoyed about the young actress being responsible for telling her story. Lavado writes on Twitter, “Honored for the bold, talented, and brilliant @selenagomez to have the starring role and producer in the adaption of In the Shadow of the Mountain; To the visionary #donnagiglioti; The talented #elginjames; and brilliance of Scott Budnick!”
Silvia Lavado who is of Peruvian descent is a woman with many hats including an explorer, a mountaineer, social entrepreneur and technologist. Born and raised in Lima, Peru, during the Peruvian terrorist movement, she came to the U.S. on an IIE/Fulbright and attended Millersville University.
Lavado fell victim to depression in her 20s due to sexual abuse she experienced as a child. This was her motivation to leave Peru along with her mothers encouragement after sharing her experience. Vazquez’s interest in mountain climbing was ignited in Peru while attending a meditation retreat. It was here that she had a vision of reconnecting to her inner child and the two of them were walking in a valley surrounded by mountains.
Lavado made history in 2016 when she became the first Peruvian woman to climb Mount Everest. Two years later, she became the first openly gay woman to have climbed the Seven Summits. The Seven Summits are composed of each of the highest mountain peaks of each of the seven continents. Climbing to the summit of all of them is regarded as a mountaineering challenge.
Aside from her endeavors as an explorer, Lavado has created a nonprofit called Courageous Girls that helps hundreds of sexual abuse and sex trafficking survivors around the world. In some cases, Lovado gathers a group of women to join a guided trek to base camp on Mount Everest and provides healing through adventure.