Joseph Gordon-Levitt: 'The Walk' celebrates a real man's achievements

Playing French highwire artiste Philippe Petit in 'The Walk' was special for Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the actor feels the movie serves as a metaphor for achieving something impossible.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Petit made headlines by shooting a wire between the Twin Towers of New York in 1974 and walking between them with the help of a pole. It was called an artistic "coup" as the artiste had not sought any permission from the authorities.

"This (movie) serves as a metaphor. To me, it is about doing something that is impossible. Here is a man (Petit) who has this idea and everything in the world would tell him 'that's impossible. You should not even try to do that.

You will kill yourself'. And he did it anyway," Gordon-Levitt said in an interview in Cancun, Mexico. The actor said what he found inspiring was that Petit was
just a normal man who decided to do something that many considered impossible.

"We celebrate a real-life man who in the face of all those doubts did it anyway. He is a real man. This is not fiction. He is not a superhero from a magical planet. He is just like us. He just made a decision."

Petit took it upon himself to teach the 34-year-old actor the highwire walk. "I don't have particular fear of heights. When my dad saw the movie, he was terrified. I think we all do to some degree.

I learnt to walk on the wire two feet 12 feet off the ground which is where we shot the movie. It is not very high but still that extra 10 feet made a lot of difference."

The actor said walking on the wire was "a wonderful experience" but it hurt his feet a lot. Gordon-Levitt, who stars in another biopic on whistleblower Edward Snowden, considers 'The Walk' as one of his trickiest roles.

"There could be an argument that this movie is the biggest risk and that's true. I have never played an role that was not from the US and I have done lots of different accents, I have done East-Coast, Mid-West, a Bruce Willis accent...

Certainly there were voices in my head saying 'this is insane'... I had to quiet those voices," he said. Also starring Charlotte Le Bon and Ben Kingsley, the Robert Zemeckis-directed movie was released by Sony Pictures India this Friday.

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