Wachowskis/Tykwer's 'Cloud Atlas' Shoots in Fall on a Modest Budget
One of my most highly anticipated projects in the works is Cloud Atlas, the ambitious adaptation of David Mitchell's novel, being co-directed by the Wachowski siblings and German filmmaker Tom Tykwer. I'm excited because it's such an extensive and ambitious project that will hopefully get the Wachowskis back to their Matrix roots, and we've heard crazy things about it being six intertwining century-spanning stories with the same actors playing characters in each one. THR has posted an update on the production, which officially begins shooting next month at Germany's Studio Babelsberg, also confirming info on the budget.
"Many have called the novel unfilmable, but Tom [Tykwer] and the Wachowskis have found a way to tell these stories in an amazing, linear and very cinematic way," said producer Stefan Arndt, or X Filme. Arndt confirms that the budget is "definitely lower" than then $100-120 million rumored, but didn't provide an exact amount. However, "some 80%," will be shot in Babelsberg, Berlin and the surrounding area, and the production will get huge tax breaks because of that, meaning they'll be able to stretch the
dollar Euro a whole lot more than they would working in Hollywood. The Wachowskis' Speed Racer was shot in Berlin, and James McTeigue's Ninja Assassin also filmed there, too. Arndt calls Atlas a "truly German production."
Cloud Atlas will also be shot in parallel using two complete filmmaking teams. For those that haven't read the book, it's an extensive tome that weaves together six storylines, each set in a different place and era. The novel's timeline and geography "stretches from 19th century Australia to a post-apocalyptic Hawaii." Arndt wouldn't confirm, but THR says "it's expected Tykwer, whose credits include the 18th century-set Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, will handle Cloud Atlas' period era plotlines while the Wachowskis apply their Matrix mojo to the novel's sci-fi settings." Makes sense, but who knows. Their stellar cast includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, Ben Whishaw and finally Jim Broadbent.
This still has a long way to go before we'll actually see if it turns out as incredible as I'm hoping, but I'm confident this is something to definitely keep a close eye on. I don't think anyone will truly understand their plans for adapting this until we see an actual trailer, but I've read a little bit of the script and it's immense and invigorating. Head to THR for the full production report, and we'll keep you updated in the meantime.