In August 2008, French stunt artist Philippe Petit mentioned during the press tour for Man on Wire that Robert Zemeckis was interested in adapting his memoir To Reach the Clouds for a big screen release. Zemeckis never said a word and the project fell off the radar, but in this excerpt from our upcoming interview with the the visionary producer/director on his next project, Mars Needs Moms, he gives us his first confirmation that he was—and still is—interested in hoisting the audience 1350 feet in the air onto a thin wire ... in 3D. Zemeckis goes on to clarify that the Who Framed Roger Rabbit sequel is not a prequel and explains how he'll put 2D Roger in a 3D world.
Zemeckis on his goals for 3D
At the end of day, the movie theater experience can't only be about a technique. That's like saying people will only go see a movie because it's in color. But movies can be in color and be really good and be a communal experience, and people will want to see them in a theater—even though, "Hey! You can watch color at home." But it has to be a good movie. A good movie that should be in 3D and in the theater. Like this movie I'm trying to make about Philippe Petit who walked across the twin towers on a wire. To be able to put audiences in places like that, on the wire with him. Then you can make a movie that is enhanced and embellished and made more emotionally powerful because it's in 3D ... I'm always thinking about ideas for movies that are good for 3D!
I'd love to hear more about the animation style of the sequel for Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is in process and going through what I think will be the final draft of the production script. It will be 3D and live action, but the animation will only ever be 2D drawn animation. We're not going to dimensionalize Roger to look like the Pixar movies. You can't dimensionalize it because Jessica [Rabbit] doesn't have a nose! But the movie will be 3D. The image will be 3D and Roger will be there in 2D. So in a 3D movie when Roger turns, for just a few frames he becomes a line. He's 2D in a 3D movie. I won't call it a sequel, but it's a continuation of the story.
A continuation or a prologue?
It's not a prologue, no, no no. It's a continuation.
Yellow Submarine is also underway. I heard that you got into USC because you made a Beatles music video, but I've never known what song it was?
I don't know if I got into USC because of it, but I made a couple of movies of illustrated Beatles songs. The one you're thinking of might be "Golden Slumbers," from the Abbey Road album.
The Beatles have had such an influence on your movies—you've checked in with them several times now.
They're fantastic. They've inspired the world, what can I tell you!