The IMAX 3D retelling of high wire aerialist Philippe Petit's incredible 1974 walk between the Twin Towers is getting a splashy premiere: The Walk, directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Petit, will be the Opening Night Film at the 53rd New York Film Festival.
Kent Jones, the NYFF's director and selection committee chair, said, "The Walk is surprising in so many ways. First of all, it plays like a classic heist movie in the tradition of The Asphalt Jungle or Bob le flambeur—the planning, the rehearsing, the execution, the last-minute problems—but here it’s not money that’s stolen but access to the world’s tallest buildings. It’s also an astonishing re-creation of Lower Manhattan in the ’70s. And then, it becomes something quite rare, rich, mysterious… and throughout it all, you’re on the edge of your seat." This trailer certainly lives up to that:
Zemeckis, whose last film, Flight, was the Closing Night Film at the NYFF in 2012, said, "I am extremely honored and grateful that our film has been selected to open the 53rd New York Film Festival. The Walk is a New York story, so I am delighted to be presenting the film to New York audiences first. My hope is that Festival audiences will be immersed in the spectacle, but also to be enraptured by the celebration of a passionate artist who helped give the wonderful towers a soul.”
The film, which also stars Ben Kingsley, James Badge Dale, Ben Schwartz, Steve Valentine, Charlotte Le Bon, Clement Sibony, Caesar Domboy and Benedict Samuel, will be released in 3D and IMAX 3D on October 2nd, 2015. The film is based on Petit's memoir, To Reach The Clouds. Petit wrote this about preparing his walks: "Even in the midst of the hardest rigging job or most demanding clandestine adventure, I never fail to pause and admire the moment when tension brings my cable to what I consider its most seductive shape. Then I pause and smile back."
When we spoke to Petit in 2008, we asked, "If you were going to try to do something in the same spirit as that in New York City today, is there anything that you would consider doing?" He replied, "Well, I continue to have in my mind some illegal walks, of course. But we live in a different time now, and suddenly in a big city like New York, if I'm caught by the powers that be at the top of a building with some equipment, I would be shot first and asked questions later. I think it's probably impossible, and yet what I do in my life is I tackle the impossible."
The New York Film Festival begins on September 25th and runs through October 11th.