By Sarah Sluis
When I first wrote about Cloud Atlas in April, the project seemed so ambitious, I wasn't sure it could be pulled off. After all, the book the movie is based on follows six seemingly unrelated people across centuries, with each story written using different genre conventions (journal, hard-boiled thriller, sci-fi dystopia). However, the movie, which has a budget rumored to be up to $100 million, will start filming this September in Germany. The project is a collaboration between The Wachowskis (Matrix trilogy) and Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run). The directors plan to divide up the sequences and shoot them in parallel. Having two directors is extremely rare, and even then they tend to be sibling teams. To pair up a sibling team with a third party may be the rarest breed of them all. I'm sure the Directors Guild freaked out a bit figuring out how the credits would work. I also think that having three directors on a project is a rare show of humility. Cloud Atlas takes place over centuries, and the idea of tackling both period sequences and futuristic ones is daunting. The Hollywood Reporter suggested that Tykwerwould shoot the period sequences while the Wachowskis would take charge of the futuristic ones.
Since the casting of Tom Hanks as one of the leads, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, Ben Whishaw and Jim Broadbent have joined the cast. I suspect that each of these six actors will be the lead in their story's respective era, since four of the leads are male and two are female. The cast is stellar to be sure, but only three out of these six actors have cachet among mainstream global audiences. (Berry, Sarandon, Hanks). I also don't think Hanks, who was the first to sign on, counts as A-List the same way Leonardo Di Caprio did in Inception. He's not a young dramatic star anymore, and his showing in Larry Crowne this summer really drove that home. Warner Bros., which handled Inception, will release the film stateside here. I definitely think the two movies will be compared with each other, because they both combine disparate surroundings into the same film. Cloud Atlas is planned for a summer 2012 release, and it could be the cerebral popcorn movie that draws in action lovers as well as those who like substance paired with their chase scenes.