We all know that studios chase success.
The problem is that they often chase it in the wrong ways. Instead of truly digging into an audience’s reaction and looking at ways to help serve a certain desire the audience has, they frequently just imitate on a surface level. I’d like to think that the conversations that have no doubt resulted from the phenomenal success of “Gravity” would lead to something along the lines of the proposed film version of “To Reach The Clouds” by Robert Zemeckis, with a script by Zemeckis and Christopher Browne.
Philippe Petit was the focus of the riveting documentary “Man On Wire,” and the thought of what Zemeckis could do with 3D cameras during Petit’s attempt to walk between the two World Trade Center towers a full 1350 feet off the ground is pretty exciting. I don’t have many phobias that are genuinely a problem for me, but heights is the one that gets me. When I am in a very high place, even if I know I’m safely protected behind glass, I get vertigo so extreme that I want to fall down. Always have. And if Robert Zemeckis does what I know he’s capable of doing with the Petit story, I fully expect I will collapse out of a theater seat.
Zemeckis has always been an expert at pushing the technical envelope, doing things that even the best FX teams in the world consider next to impossible. I would bet that his reaction to “Gravity” was a completely healthy sense of fury that he wasn’t the one who had made it, especially since he was one of the directors who pushed 3D forward. A story like this gives him a chance to really play with the way depth can work in 3D, and yet it is a human story first and foremost.
Twitch broke the story that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is now set to take the lead and play Petit in the film, and I’m curious to see what else they cover from his life. Honestly, out of all of the films that Zemeckis has been attached to recently, this is one of the ones that I most want to see. I thought “Man On Wire” was amazing, but this is a case where a narrative approach to the story could show us things that the documentary simply couldn’t, and with Gordon-Levitt attached to star, it seems like Petit’s legacy is in good hands.
This will, of course, have to work around the 11,000 other films that Gordon-Levitt is currently attached to, but that’s what lawyers are for.