Upcoming Flix Spotlight: Cloud Atlas

I was researching about an upcoming post when I came across this project to be produced by the Wachowski siblings. The first thing that caught my eye was that Hugo Weaving will be playing six different characters in this movie. The Aussie actor seems to be the Wachowskis’ muse, having starred in The Matrix and V for Vendetta for them previously and will be seen as Red Skull in Captain America out next month. Then I went to the movie’s IMDb page and whoa… check out the rest of the cast: Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent, Halle Berry, and Ben Wishaw. Man, talk about a stellar cast!

Cloud Atlas is based on British author David Mitchell’s award-winning sci-fi novel of the same name, it was published in 2004. I haven’t read it, but the premise sounds really interesting. The description on Wikipedia seems convoluted, but I like this one from Corona’s Coming Attraction site:

Six seemingly unconnected stories featuring different central characters in each one, set at different time periods from the 19th century to hundreds of years into the [post-apocalyptic] future when there are only a handful of human beings left alive.

I like the sci-fi genre and seems like a good fit from the people who brought us one of the best sci-fi actioner The Matrix. Besides the story, the format of the novel sounds intriguing as well as each story breaks off half-way through, to be followed by the first half of the next one, which then ‘goes back’ in time so that in the end, the readers will end where they started. Reportedly each actor will play multiple roles in the film, which should be very interesting to watch.

I haven’t seen Mr. Hanks for quite a while, I think his last movie I saw was Charlie’s Wilson War which I rented a couple of years ago. He hasn’t been all that prolific on the acting front – his last feature film was the Da Vinci Code follow-up Angels & Demons (neither of which I have any interest in) and his upcoming dramedy with Julia Roberts, Larry Crowne, is out this July. As for Susan Sarandon, her last movie I saw was Romance & Cigarettes back in 2005 at TIFF! I figure Hanks is quite selective with his projects, so the fact that he chose this one, there’s got to be something special and will no doubt increase the visibility of this project ten-fold.

The Wachowskis will co-direct the film with German director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, Perfume: Anatomy of a Murderer, The International). I haven’t seen Perfume, but I really like his other two movies. I actually made a trailer of Run Lola Run for a video production class back in college. According to Variety, the budget is set at $140 million and it’ll begin shooting later this Summer for May 4, 2012 release.


I’m quite excited about this movie now. How about you, folks?

26 thoughts on “Upcoming Flix Spotlight: Cloud Atlas

  1. The book is incredible and I’d really recommend you check it out before the film comes out because I’m slightly worried that the Wachowskis are going to ruin it. The chapter structure is a very interesting device and attempts to highlight the loosely connected and timeless nature of the stories. I honestly think it’s a modern classic and Mitchell’s mastery of several completely different writing styles is a joy to behold.

    The ‘Weaving Playing Six Characters’ thing really worries me.

    1. I don’t know if I can handle the book. It’s funny, I LOVE sci fi movies but haven’t read an entire sci-fi novel before, I usually gravitate towards love stories more when it comes to books. I might check out this one though based on your recommendation.

      Why are you worried about Weaving playing six characters?? He’s a competent actor who’s compelling acting behind a mask for the entire movie in V, so I think he’ll do fine.

      1. I wouldn’t really call it a Sci-Fi novel. The 5th and 6th books definitely have their roots in Sci-Fi (most obviously the 5th) but 1 is told as a historical memoir, 2 is a historical diary about an old-fashioned cad (with a definite love element to it), 3 is a pulp fiction mystery and 4 is a straight up dramatic short story.

        Weaving is most likely playing six characters to show the links between the stories but in the novel the links are tenuous and ethereal. Having one character fill multiple roles sounds to me like someone shouting ‘LOOK, THESE STORIES ARE BLOODY WELL LINKED!’. The links are only great because of their subtlety, remove this and I don’t think they’ll be so clever. But, hey, I’m prejudging it immensely: it could be great.

  2. Shades of Darren A’s ‘The Fountain’ (an underrated film IMO). I’ve read about this too, and if anyone can make it work, it’s the Wachowskis – but three directors? Has that even happened before?

  3. Quite a cast indeed. I wonder if this will be the movie that puts Halle’s career back on track. It seems like she’s been struggling to get back on top ever since Catwoman. And Perfume is a movie that i’ve been meaning to rewatch, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I do remember Ben being fantastic in it tho

    The structure of the novels sound like it could end up confusing on film tho

    1. Didn’t she get some nominations for Frankie & Alice last year? Yeah, Catwoman is such a low point for her, no wonder it takes a while for her to get back on track.

      The subject matter for Perfume really creeps me out, but I’m curious to see Ben’s performance. I might rent it one of these days.

  4. Ted S.

    The story sounds interesting and I’ve never even heard of the book. I’m a sucker for sci-fi films too and with that cast and mega budget, let’s hope the film will be a good one.

    1. You’ve never heard of the book? Wow that’s a first, I was expecting you to give me a review of it in the comment 😀 This looks really good doesn’t it Ted, it’s definitely right up your alley, too.

      1. Ted S.

        Yeah in fact I’ve never heard of this project until I read this article, I’m still tick at the Wachowskis for what they did with the Matrix sequels. Hopefully they can make another good sci-fi film again.

  5. Jack Deth

    Hi, Ruth and all:

    The cast sounds smashing!

    I’ve not read the novel in question and I am a fan of Sci~Fi. I’ve admired Tom Hanks’ choices in roles since ‘Splash!’. He has a knack for choosing projects with others of equal or higher caliber that has stood the test of time.

    Overall, ‘Cloud Atlas’ sounds much more intriguing than another proposed Hanks project, ‘Major Matt Mason’. Consisting of wrapping a more Science Fact than Fiction story around a 1970s Mattel action figure.

    It will also be kind of cool to see if Hugo Weaving can pick up the mantle of multiple characters laid down so well by Sir Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers and run with it.

    1. I’ve never even heard of Major Matt Mason, what kind of a name is that?? I think Mr. Weaving can do all six roles brilliantly, he’s such a chameleon actor.

      1. Jack Deth

        Hi Ruth:

        Major Matt Mason was a 12″ tall astronaut action figure. Complete with Mercury/Gemini era NASA shiny space suit and helmet with a movable visor from the Mattel Toy Company. Originally, the space garbed action figure was sold separately. In later months there were Mercury and Gemini Capsules for the action figures.

        My guess is that Major Matt Mason was Mattel’s more egg heady answer to Hasbro’s ‘GI Joe’, which were incredibly popular during the late 19060s and 70s.

      1. Not a fan of V, Ronan? I suppose the movie does glorify a terrorist, but I have a soft spot for Hugo Weaving’s performance.

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