During the press conference at the New York Film Festival for the premiere of his new film “The Walk,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt revealed that the highwire artist he portrays in the movie, Philippe Petit, trained him how to walk the wire.
“The Walk” looks back on Petit’s memorable walk across the World Trade Center Twin Towers in the summer of 1974.
“Philippe insisted that he be the first one to teach me how to walk on the wire,” Gordon-Levitt told the theatre filled with press following the screening.
“He doesn’t do anything half way, this guy, so he orchestrated this really elaborate workshop. It was just me and him all day long for eight days straight and he said ‘by the end of these eight days you’ll be able to walk on the wire by yourself,’ and I thought that sounded ambitious but he’s such a positive thinker. By the end of those eight days I did walk on a wire by myself.”
Though in the film, directed by Robert Zemeckis, many of the highwire stunts were done through CGI or a stunt double, Gordon-Levitt did explain that a set was constructed of the top two stories of the World Trade Towers with a wire 12 feet high that he walked on himself.
Gordon-Levitt noted that many on the film told him not to worry that much about doing the highwire walks himself because it would all be done by “movie magic.”
But that wasn’t enough for the man whose life he’s playing.
“I really wanted to learn,” Gordon-Levitt said. “But Philippe really wanted me to learn how to do it.”
“The Walk” opens in theatres October 9.
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