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Joseph Gordon-Levitt to play Philippe Petit in Robert Zemeckis’ ‘To Reach the Clouds’

After several weeks of negotiations, Robert Zemeckis has his man, as Joseph Gordon-Levitt has committed to play famed tightrope walker Philippe Petit in “To Reach the Clouds,” an individual familiar with the TriStar project has told TheWrap.

While Petit’s story is certainly fascinating, it’s unclear how Zemeckis plans to improve upon James Marsh’s amazing 2008 documentary “Man on Wire” beyond filming in 3D, or why Tom Rothman wants to kickoff TriStar’s resurgence with a tale that has already been told.

Gordon-Levitt is a strong fit to play Petit, who walked between New York’s Twin Towers in 1974. Last month, sources told TheWrap that Gordon-Levitt would be hard-pressed to turn down the challenging role of Petit, as the actor participated in gymnastics as a teenager.

Gordon-Levitt is expected adopt a French accent to play Petit, and he just dropped some French while reading the role of Vincent “royale with cheese” Vega in Evan Goldberg’s live-reading of “Pulp Fiction” at Film Independent at LACMA last week.

Zemeckis and his ImageMovers partners Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey will produce, as “Clouds” has been a passion project for the company for several years. Zemeckis and Christopher Browne co-wrote the script, which is based on Petit’s memoirs.

Rothman and Zemeckis previously worked together on “Cast Away” and “What Lies Beneath,” and the duo plan to start production in May before Gordon-Levitt reteams with “50/50” director Jonathan Levine and co-star Seth Rogen on an untitled Christmas Eve comedy set up at Sony and Good Universe.

While Twitch first reported Gordon-Levitt’s likely involvement, Deadline broke the news of his official casting.