To say that Cloud Atlas—the upcoming science fiction offering from writer/directors Lana and Andy Wachowski, and Tom Tykwer—is ambitious, may be the understatement of the year. The adaptation of David Mitchell’s novel spans a wide swath of time, from the distant past well into the future, and encompasses the entire globe. Within the body of the film, actors play multiple characters, bouncing around between time periods, careers, races, and even genders.
The official Cloud Atlas website now has a bunch of pictures of the characters in the various stages of their thematic arcs. There’s Tom Hanks as a gangster, Halle Berry as a white woman, Hugh Grant as some sort of post-apocalyptic looking warrior, and all manner of other incarnations. If you watched the six-minute long trailer, then you have an idea of the scope that this film is shooting for.
This image of Hanks is my favorite, that face he’s making is ridiculous.
The point of this thematically dense tome is to show that everything is connected, how simple choices and circumstances can send a life shooting off into different directions, and how our actions carry far beyond our own lives. This is a lot to fit into a single movie. Hell, this is a lot to fit into a full-length novel. It will be interesting to see if the Wachowskis and Tykwer can pull it off, but it sounds like Cloud Atlas, for all of its potential, could wind up a jumbled mess of ideas, themes, and stories.
Cloud Atlas opens on October 26, and stars massive international ensemble. In addition to Hanks, Berry, and Grant, the cast features Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, Doona Bae, Jim Sturgess, Keith David, Xun Zhou, James D’Arcy, David Gyasi, and Ben Whishaw.
However Cloud Atlas turns out—genre bending philosophical triumph, or muddled, chaotic dud—these pictures, and the make up effects, are something to see. Check then out below.