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Robert Zemeckis has been directing feature films since 1978, with films in pretty much any genre imaginable and an undeniably huge degree of success. While others might spoil with such riches, Zemeckis has taken to it well, teaching new and valuable lessons with each film he makes. Check out what the cast of The Walk had to say about what they learned from the legendary director, in the video below:
During the recent press rounds for The Walk, I had the honor to talk to several members of the cast. Through those conversations, I had to wonder what it was like working with the man who also directed such hits as the Back To The Future trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, and Flight. Every answer to that particular question was delivered with warmth and enthusiasm for two big reasons: Robert Zemeckis knows what he’s doing, and he knows how to treat his actors. Speaking to his abilities as a director, Joseph Gordon-Levitt had this to say about Zemeckis’ approach:
There was thing that he'd often do... he would say 'Here's what I know, and here's what I don't know.' To have a leader get up in front of everybody and say 'here's what I don't know,' that demonstrates, to me, so much class and confidence, and humility.
It an amazing thought when you really take the time to absorb it. The notion that Robert Zemeckis can be in the film industry for so long, and yet not only still have those moments of doubt – but also share them with the cast – is something to behold. To a similar effect, Charlotte Le Bon had comments about the Zemeckis style, which she credits as helping her out with her performance, stating the following:
That was quite impressive, but it helped me a lot actually, to feel good about me too.
While some would tell you that a director’s doubts and questions about the success of a project should be dealt with internally, especially on a film like The Walk, you can’t help but marvel at the results of the Zemeckis filmography. In the case of Robert Zemeckis, that doubt leads to inquisition, and those queries lead to collaboration and results. No one knew that better during their time on The Walk than James Badge Dale, who was able to previously work with the director on his last film, Flight. His summation of the atmosphere on a Zemeckis set is basically the following:
He hires you, and he'll say 'I hired you for a reason. Go do what you do.' He'll tweak you and move you... it's this very positive, creative environment.
Age old wisdom tells you to never meet your heroes, but the cast of The Walk certainly broke that rule, and they’re all the wiser for it. Bound together by their admiration of the man they were working for, the cast would have movie nights watching Robert Zemeckis films, and admitted as much at the New York Film Festival Q&A the morning of the film’s festival opening. Their admiration of Zemeckis, and his mutual trust in his actors, are all on the screen as a result of this symbiotic relationship between artists.
The Walk opens in its wide release debut today, and it’s well worth the price of admission.