I wanted to ask you about something you’ve got coming up, which is the Robert Zemeckis movie “The Walk.” That’s in 3D too, right?
Yes. We just finished shooting it. It’s definitely one of the most, if not the most, challenging thing I’ve ever done. And I mean that in the best way.
What was so challenging about it?
I’m not as good a wire-walker as Philippe Petit, but I did learn how to walk on a wire. And it’s really hard. Plus, I’m playing a Frenchman so I’m speaking with a French accent and some lines I’m speaking in French and wanting to not sound like an American who is speaking French. So I really wanted to work on getting that accent just right. And just playing this guy with maniacal ambition, and I mean maniacal in the best sense. But he’s just so intense. But Bob Zemeckis was just such a dream and the way he shot the whole movie is so inspiring. And you bring up 3D — a movie like “The Walk,” as well as “Sin City” — these are movies where the 3D is in the bones. The movie is begging to be in 3D. It’s not like, “Well, we’ll make it in 3D so we can charge more for the tickets.” The idea of a wire-walker, of a shot where, in the foreground you can have the guy’s foot on the wire and deep, deep, deep down there, 1,300 feet below, is the city of New York. That should be in 3D. It’s like “Gravity.” It should be in 3D. Especially in the way that Zemeckis shot this movie — if you have vertigo, you’re going to have a physical reaction to this movie.
Did he talk to you about what it was going to look like?
Oh yeah. It’s shot to make you feel like what it felt to be on the wire there. That’s the thing — there is no footage of the walk. The cops came just before his friend could shoot any motion picture footage. There’s just a few stills. And we re-created the walk and collaborated with Philippe to say, “Okay — what did you do on the first crossing? What did you do on the second crossing? Why? What did you feel like?” It’s not a completely precise replica, because the walk was 45 minutes long and we can’t put a 45 minute walk in the middle of the movie, but it’s quite accurate and Philippe was there while we were shooting the wire-walking. So it’s really going to be the first time we’ll get to see what that was.
Did you feel extra pressure having him there?
Honestly, he was so positive to me, it didn’t add pressure. It was encouraging. He just has this incredible bottomless pit of energy and was applying that to me — making me feel great, making me feel inspired. He was the one who taught me how to walk on a wire. I spent eight days straight with him. At the beginning, I couldn’t do it at all and at the end I was walking by myself with a pole, on a real wire, six feet off the ground.