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First Look at Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Robert Zemeckis' The Walk

By B. Alan Orange — July 12th, 2014

Documentary fans and high-wire enthusiasts will already be familiar with Philippe Petit's story if they've seen the award-winning movie Man on Wire. The high-wire artist pulled off the impossible when he tightrope walked between the Twin Towers in New York way back in 1974. Director Robert Zemeckis is bringing this story back to the big screen in a dramatization of these events, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing the insane and charismatic stuntman.

Originally titled To Reach the Clouds, the actor has shared the first photo from the set of The Walk, standing alongside co-star Charlotte Le Bon, on his official Facebook page. Take a look as the two appear to be having a lot of fun against a green screen, which is standing in for one of the World Trade Center towers.

One late-summer day, a feat of unimaginable audacity was perpetrated on the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The year was 1974. A hundred thousand people gathered on the ground to watch in awe as twenty-four-year-old high wire artist Philippe Petit made eight crossings between the all-but-completed towers, a quarter mile above the earth, over the course of nearly an hour.

Philippe Petit's achievement made headlines around the world. Yet few who saw or heard about it realized that it was the fulfillment of a dream he had nurtured for six years, rekindling it each time it was in danger of expiring. His accomplices were a motley crew of foreigners and Americans, who under Philippe Petit's direction had conspired, connived, labored, argued, rehearsed, and improvised to make possible an act of unsurpassed aerial artistry.

In this visually and verbally stunning book, Philippe Petit tells for the first time the dramatic story of this history-making walk, from conception and clandestine planning to the performance and its aftermath. The account draws on Philippe Petit's journals, which capture everything from his budgets to his strategies for rigging a high wire in the dead of night between two of the most secure towers in the world. It is animated by photographs taken by two of Philippe Petit's collaborators, and by his own wonderfully evocative sketches and unquenchable humor.

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