Tom Tykwer Adapting Cloud Atlas with Wachowski Brothers

January 29, 2009

Tom Tykwer - Cloud Atlas

We just finished chatting with director Tom Tykwer earlier today at the press day in Los Angeles for his latest film, The International. At the end, we asked him what he had coming up next and while he said he wasn't ready to talk much about it, Tykwer did reveal that he's adapting a novel called Cloud Atlas. Here is what he said: "I'm trying to adapt a novel called Cloud Atlas, which is a novel by David Mitchell that I'm really completely excited about. And I'm sitting down with the Wachowski Brothers and trying to adapt that for a screenplay. It's very interesting." How's that for one hell of an exciting team up?

Cloud Atlas, published in 2004, is a novel comprised of six separate but loosely related narratives that weave together history, science, suspense, humor and pathos. Tykwer didn't reveal which of the six he would be focusing on, which is the next big question to be answered, because the book spans a variety of genres: "from Melvillean high-seas drama to California noir and dystopian fantasy." I'm already very curious to hear a lot more about this, especially with the Wachowskis involved as well. Before The International, Tykwer wrote all of his own scripts for his films, although we're not sure if he'll be directing this.

Given this is the very first we've heard of this, we're not sure if Tyker will be directing, or if the Wachowskis will be directing, or if they're only just collaborating on the screenplay, for someone else to direct. Whatever the case, we'll see if we can dig up some additional details and we'll keep our eyes open. Thoughts?

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... Very cool... Anything with the Wachowski Brothers automatically gets my attention, this sounds like a really cool idea too... Win win if you ask me... Now to see if The International is any good... ...

Mondo Jay on Jan 29, 2009


Brilliant book...but I can't imagine it as a film.

Derek on Jan 29, 2009


Very cool. I am so excited for THE INTERNATIONAL, mainly for Naomi Watts. Have a screening for it Thursday.

Ryan on Jan 29, 2009


saw the international about 6 months back at a preview screening and besides the opening and the big shootout in the guggenheim, i'd have to say it was quite average. although it does seem like a while since clive owen has popped up after being in like 10 movies in 2007. hopefully they cut themselves anew movie in 6 months.

Joe S. on Jan 29, 2009


Unfilmable. I recommend this book to everyone that reads, and certainly it has many images between its covers that would look great on screen. But each of its 6 stories (11 chapters when all split up) has more nuance than a film could convey. That said, if they film it, I couldn't help but watch it.

Ian K on Jan 30, 2009


I'd be more excited if the Bros. hadn't completely spit the bit on "Speed Racer." Can they take a complex book like this and make a coherent film out of it? I have my doubts...

Dave on Jan 30, 2009


Ian K said it right - 'Unfilmable'. However, I can see Number 9 Dream done up(or down I suppose) for the big screen, especially if Wachowski brothers are involved.

Sprink on Jan 30, 2009


This would have to be a miniseries. This book is really 6 separate novellas. I love it, but I can't see it being coherent in less than three hours.

Gene on Jan 30, 2009


They said Perfume: The Story of a Murderer was unfilmable....Twyker not only proved that wasn't true, but he crafted an unsung masterpiece.

jason on Jan 30, 2009


A remarkable book, but I don't see how anyone could film it. Of course, they said that about "Naked Lunch" and "Crash" and they didn't scare off Cronenberg. I love Tykwer, though, so I guess I'll wait and see...

Count Screwloose on Jan 30, 2009


The Wachowski's need to stay away from this project, as everything they've made since the first Matrix film has been utter garbage - Mitchell's book deserves far, far better than that. As for your question about "which of the six (stories) he would be focusing on" - read the book, Mr. Billington, before you express too much ignorance over this. There are 6, yes, but the whole point is their intertwining narratives - there is not one without the other. Is it unfilmable? No, but it should be left alone - it's too brilliant of a novel to be hacked apart into a screenplay.

Seth on Jan 31, 2009


Perfume was a fantastic film. And if Twyker as a lot to do with it I hope this is another visual marvel of filming.

Darren on Jan 31, 2009


I don't want to believe #11 but the evidence is in his favor don't get your hopes up folks

Dating in Toronto on Mar 27, 2009


Just watched The Princess and the Warrior, and was thinking it was very pleasantly atmospheric... a description which made me think of the book Cloud Atlas which I read earlier in the year... While looking up the director of the film I noticed he is developing Cloud Atlas and I can not imagine a more perfect pairing!

Rob on May 16, 2009


The international was crap, low rating low sales, very poor writing. Really he does not know how to write a screenplay. So now they give him this.. a total crap festival. I pity the author, i know he takes the cash, but does he not even value his own work?

Joe on May 18, 2010


I'm against making this book into a movie; it is just too complex, making it into a movie would most likely ruin it. That said, if they decide to just make one of the stories into a movie, I hope it is the narrative about Somni-451.

Meghan on May 23, 2010


he clearly hasn't read the book, you can't just concentrate on just one story you would have to follow all six of them! I think Tom Tykwer could do it as Run Lola Run has three interlinked narratives 😀

JT3rd on May 24, 2010


There is simply no way that this utterly brilliant and beautifully (if not perfectly) insightful book could be condensed to a regular film length. It would have to be cut up, but that certainly wouldn't work. I'm glad that the book is at least in the hands of Wachowski and Tykwer, but I haven't the foggiest idea how they plan to pull this off without really upsetting the devoted adorers (myself included) of this book. If it comes out, I will be there opening night without a doubt, and if they can pull this off it will be a MONUMENTAL film, I predict as big as the Matrix...

Ethan on Jun 14, 2010


Love this book, I would have to say it is an all-time favorite. I agree that this would be near impossible to make a movie out of, due to the sheer depth of each of the characters, and the complexity of each story. But it may make sense to split up into 2 movies. Cut the book right down the middle - Just as Mitchell does with each of the stories. It would leave us hanging (I feel like that was part of the beauty of this novel), but still allow for the necessary time to really tell each tale. It would all have to be filmed together - for the sake of continuity - but just might work.......

troy on Aug 29, 2010


They will have to film it in 11 full length features with the sixth being a three and half hour epic to properly do Zachary after sloosha's crossing. Greatest book since crime and punishment

Tom todaro on Jan 5, 2011

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