'Cloud Atlas' Author Teases Six Worlds in Wachowski/Tykwer's Film

June 22, 2011
Source: The Guardian

Cloud Atlas - Wachowskis

As I was expecting all along, the new Wachowski project is quite ambitious, which is why Tom Tykwer is helping out. The movie is Cloud Atlas, an adaptation based on David Mitchell's novel that's currently in pre-production in Berlin and will shoot entirely in Germany. We've heard confirmations already from actors like Hugo Weaving that he will be playing six characters in the film, meaning they are adapting the book in true to its six worlds, but now the author himself confirms as well. The Guardian (via The Film Stage) ran a piece on Cloud Atlas shooting in Germany and has some exciting quotes from Mitchell that you must hear.

So, for those that haven't read the book, Cloud Atlas is "an epic story of humankind in which the actions and consequences of our lives impact one another throughout the past, present and future as one soul is shaped from a murderer into a savior and a single act of kindness ripples out for centuries to inspire a revolution." The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer are indeed adapting the book and creating all six worlds, which span thousands of years, for the film and will have all of the actors play six different characters. Mitchell explains to The Guardian exactly why that is an ambitious undertaking, but with the potential to turn out amazing.

"Rather, the three directors have assembled Cloud Atlas and reassembled it in a form which – fingers crossed – will be a glorious, epic thing. The reincarnation motif in the book is just a hinted-at linking device, but the script gives it centre stage to link the six worlds with characters, causes and effects. A novel can't do multi-role acting: a film can. The directors are playing to the strengths of their medium, just like I try to."

This sounds like it might be phenomenal. I had a good feeling it would be something very unique, something we've never seen, and I think the Wachowskis are going to try for that again. Mitchell also revealed the script he had read was "deeply impressive" and explained: "They aren't attempting merely to film the book, which is why many adaptations come to grief – the novel's already there, so why spend all that effort on an audiobook with visuals?" Cloud Atlas will also be the "most expensive German film of all time," but ever since the Wachowski moved there for Speed Racer, they've been happy to keep working there. Parts of Cloud Atlas will be shot at Babelsberg Studios just outside Berlin, where Quentin Tarantino shot some of Inglourious Basterds. The budget is said to be $100 milliong (£62 million) and will start shooting in fall.

Cloud Atlas, coincidentally enough, currently has six main actors: Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent and Ben Whishaw. I'm already very excited for this and I'm honestly not even sure what to expect, but that's what I love. I'd like to be surprised by a mysterious trailer arriving late this year that gives us a glimpse at what we can expect, and I think that might blow us all away, but that's just my own speculation. We'll keep you updated on anything we hear regarding more buzz or details about Cloud Atlas. To wrap-up, here's how Mitchell responds when asked if he'd visit the set. "Watch a line I wrote come out of the amazing Jim Broadbent's mouth? Wild horses couldn't keep me away."

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fuck. yes.

sir watchalot on Jun 23, 2011


Now THAT's the response I like to hear!!

Alex Billington on Jun 23, 2011


fucking aces!!! can't wait for this to come out. i loved speed racer too. and i really want to see and own something like this. as long as Hollywood can make one excellent film per year, I'll be okay.

ate on Jun 23, 2011


Despite the fact that the Matrix is a classic, I remain deeply unconvinced by the Wachowski's abilities as writers/directors. Mainly because in the decade since the release of the Matrix, the have exclusively directed dogshit. Speed Racer's dialogue and characterizations were alarmingly bad, and this does not bode well for Cloud Atlas or the Iraq War/It's Raining Men adaptation they've got going on. Because both these projects strike me as ones were subtlety and nuance are very important. And the Wachowski's cannot do subtlety and nuance. They can do cg backdrops and first year philosophy, but not much beyond that.

Lebowski on Jun 23, 2011


While I agree with most of what you say, I have to admit I quite enjoyed V for Vendetta. Granted it might have been the cg backdrops and first year philosophy. I am stoked for anything David Mitchell related though, so I'll give this one the benefit of a doubt.

eX on Jun 23, 2011


Just to let everyone know I came everywhere. Movie I'm most excited about except for TDKR!!!!

Adam on Jun 23, 2011


"Speed Racer's dialogue and characterizations were alarmingly bad" -it wasn't bad. it was as cheesy as the original comic. so that was a purpose of art. you should just be brave enough to realize it.

TurgayKorkmaz on Jun 23, 2011


I'm attending Vancouver Film School as a screenwriter, and as kick ass as this sounds, they had better keep it simple because trying to have audiences keep track of six characters across six worlds is going to be daunting. They might have incredible visuals, even stellar acting and a great story, but this might be just a bit much for most to follow. All that good stuff can be lost if people are left scratching their heads, trying to keep things straight. Having said that, I do look forward to what they pull off.

Andrew Riley on Jun 23, 2011

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