The Walk – Cinefex 143 Extract

by Graham Edwards

The Walk posterIt’s time for another peek into our latest magazine issue, Cinefex 143. Today we’re taking you behind the scenes on one of the tallest tales of the year – The Walk, which chronicles the extraordinary true story of Philippe Petit’s spectacular wire-walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

VFX supervisor Kevin Baillie took overall responsibility for the film’s dazzling visual effects, with individual sequences crafted by a team including Atomic Fiction, Rodeo FX and Universal Production Partners.

In this exclusive extract from Joe Fordham’s article, Skywalker, director Robert Zemeckis discusses the genesis of the project, and reveals how his interest was sparked by Mordicai Gerstein’s fairytale-like picture book, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers:

“It was a children’s book,” said Zemeckis, “but I thought, ‘Wow, that’s interesting,’ and when I researched the story, I discovered it was quite amazing. We bought Philippe’s rights and, three years before Man on Wire appeared, we were well into designing our film, because we did it in a strange way. The most powerful part of Philippe’s story was the walk, but I felt that would not translate effectively to the page as a screenplay. My decision was to create an animatic to present the story in the most powerful way possible.”

Zemeckis interviewed Petit and, using Petit’s narration, fashioned an animatic with a pool of artists at his own studio, ImageMovers Digital, led by The Third Floor previsualization supervisor Eric Carney. “It was an hour-and-50-minute previs of the movie,” recalled visual effects supervisor Kevin Baillie, who was part of the ImageMovers team. “It showed everything from Philippe’s inspiration as a child all the way through his walk between the Twin Towers. It was such a powerful way of conveying Bob’s vision for the film. It contained the DNA of the story and was a very clear communication of what he intended to show on screen.”

Read the complete article in Cinefex 143, which also features Ant-Man, Terminator Genisys and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.

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