Update: Press release also has what appears to be an early logo of the film;
Rewind the clocks back ten years ago and just as exciting as mainstream filmmakers like Chris Nolan are today were The Wachowski Brothers who were just getting to work on their highly anticipated two-part sequel to the groundbreaking 1999 sci-fi film The Matrix. Back in 2001, we were counting down the days to The Matrix Reloaded pretty much like we are right now for next summer’s The Dark Knight Rises. The sibling filmmakers were on top of the world.
In three days time on September 16th, The Wachowski’s (after Larry had a sex change to Lana, they are no longer referred to as brothers) will begin filming their adaptation of David Mitchell’s 2004 Booker Prize winning novel Cloud Atlas in the aftermath of a huge backlash to their Matrix sequels, and a critics and audience dismissal of their anime inspired Speed Racer. The Wachowski’s have become somewhat of an after thought in our minds but we are sincerely willing them to re-find their previous master’s touch here.
Adapting such an ambitious novel as Cloud Atlas is a grand undertaking, one that apparently requires a third director (if you count The Wachowski’s as two) with Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, Perfume: Story of a Murderer) to helm the project having also co-wrote the screenplay with TWO GIANT SIZED CREWS to film portions of the film separately. As today’s press release states;
Their unique creative collaboration began several years ago and has resulted in a vision that involves simultaneous filming of two full units that will take them to Scotland, Spain and Germany.
The Wachowski’s will tackle the futuristic segments, Tykwer the period.
Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas is broken down into six different perspectives, all set at different time periods spread over thousands of years from 19th Century South Pacific voyage, to a bisexual musician in the 1930′s, a thriller story revolving around a female journalist in 70′s California, an aging London publisher in the present, to a clone in a dystopian future AND even a post-apocalyptic survivor in Hawaii but are still somewhat connected to each other and fold in on themselves. Sometimes by suspense, sometimes by historical events and sometimes by pathos. All these different perspectives are also like their own different genre’s which many might find frustrating about the book and you would automatically think would make it un-filmable as a literal and faithful translation. But the approach seems to be six films shot with the mindset of full features that just happen to connect together.
The Wachowski’s and Tykwer have plucked as impressive an eclectic cast as you will find anywhere, many of which will be playing roles in this large grand sweeping and sprawling tale. Actor Ben Whishaw recently told Vulture;
“Everyone in the cast is playing at least three parts, some big and some small. I’m doing three: Frobisher in the thirties; a female American in the seventies, in the Luisa Rey section; and a smallish role, where I’m basically an extra, in a modern-day nursing home, in the Timothy Cavendish section.. Everybody’s swapping race and gender, so it’s very ambitious and quite fun. I’ll really love playing a woman!”
Here’s the cast;
Two time Best Leading Man Oscar winner Tom Hanks, who hasn’t done a project this interesting in years;
Hugo Weaving, re-teaming with The Wachowski’s for the first time since his iconic turn as Agent Smith in The Matrix;
Oscar winner Jim Broadbent;
Oscar winner Susan Sarandon;
Taking him out of rom-com purgatory, Hugh Grant;
Ben Whishaw, an alumni of Twyker’s Perfume: The Story of a Murderer;
One Day and 21 actor Jim Sturgess, who recently commented;
“It’s very clever what [the directors are] gonna try and do. I’m really really really excited about it… I think it’s going to be bonkers, it’s either going to work or it’s not. I’m really excited to see if we can pull it off, because it’s ambitious what they want to do.”
Cult actor Keith David!
Brit T.V. actor David Gyasi, who will soon be seen in George Lucas’ Red Tails;
Actress Zhou Xun and Doona Bae from Korea round out the internationally acclaimed cast.
CLOUD ATLAS will be distributed in the United States and Canada by Warner Bros. Pictures and in Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland by X-Filme-Verleih. Dreams of the Dragon Pictures is an equity partner and holds all rights in China. Media Asia Group is an equity partner and holds all rights in Hong Kong. Ascension Pictures is an equity partner and holds all rights in Singapore and Malaysia. A Company is an equity partner and holds all rights in Russia and Eastern Europe. Focus Features International has sold the remaining territories, other than Japan, France, the UK and Australia, which the Producers have held back. These will be marketed later in the year, as filming progresses.
With filming beginning this week I guess there’s a huge chance Cloud Atlas could hit cinema’s as early as next year…. what an intriguing and exciting prospect that awaits us!