Man On Wire

Wire-walker Philippe Petit and director James Marsh tell TotalFilm.com about their remarkable documentary...

 

Philippe, what was it like walking between the Twin Towers?

Petit: There was some breeze, between the towers there was always a dancing current. And I am walking across the void. The height was something to explore and enjoy among the clouds.  I just looked where it would be beautiful to look.

Which was where?

Petit: Well, I looked down because I knew the view must be magnificent and unique and I will never see it again. Which proved to be true. There was thousands of people looking up, like little ants.

We’re heard you’ll never even use the word ‘falling’...

Petit: ....
Marsh: No, he won’t acknowledge its existence, he won’t use that word, nor does he wish to hear it! He’s actually really, really careful. Which is why he’s so certain he’s going to succeed.

Having made the film, do you still find it amazing that Philippe did this?
         
Marsh: He’s the hero of his own fairytale. There’s so many times they should have got caught. They lost the wire on the roof of the towers and that should have been it. But he defied the laws of gravity and nature to do this.

What do you think of the film’s 9/11 resonance?

Marsh: It’s unbearable poignant to see these buildings as part of this beautiful story – I mean, I’ve lived in the New York for many years and I witness what happened their with my own eyes.
Petit: I had a personal connection with those towers, they were alive inside me. I had seen them grow and I had married them with my wire, and now to see them die was a very personal drama.”

What’s the latest of the Hollywood film that is going to be made of this story?

Marsh: There are plans in the works that are way beyond my pay grade – it’s nothing to do with me!
Petit: I’m an making an amazing film with Robert Zemeckis but I will not tell you anything about it!

What’s been the most amazing response to Man On Wire so far?

Marsh: It got a standing ovation at the Edinburgh Film Festival and Sean Connery said it was one of the three most enjoyable experiences he’d ever had in the cinema.

What were the other three?

Marsh: I was trying to get it out of him but he wouldn’t tell me!

 

 

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