The Wachowski’s Cloud Atlas is scheduled to for releas by Warner Bros. on October 26th. The adaptation of David Mitchell’s novel has a ridiculously big-name cast, each of whom plays numerous different roles that span the globe and occur through multiple time periods.
Talking with THR, Hugo Weaving says, “[The movie explores] the idea of being reborn and souls being reborn through time.” These themes, the star of The Matrix mentions, are especially personal and important to Lana Wachowski (who co-directed the picture with Andy Wachowski and Tom Tykwer), who recently underwent gender reassignment surgery.
Weaving gushes about co-stars like Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jim Sturgess, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, and more:
[I[t was a real treat to work with such an extraordinary cast, and sometimes in any one week you might be working on three or four characters. So it’s a slightly dangerous adventure we embarked on, because to be honest you don’t know where it’s all heading, despite the wonderful preparation. But yeah, it was certainly very exciting.
Mitchell’s book deals with specific souls being born and reborn into different epochs in time. The Wachowskis and Tykwer had the idea to “bring back actors to multiple roles in these stories.” From Weaving’s description of how the narrative is structured, it sounds something like playing six different versions of the same character, each one in a new time and place.
Because the film’s told in a sort of mosaic way where all six stories are told at once, initially at the beginning of the shoot you’d move from one character to another…But as the shoot progressed and it got towards the end, you were seeing more links between the characters. And indeed, there might be a cut from one of your characters to another character, so there’s a link between them… So initially you’re feeling the separateness of the characters, but increasingly feeling like they’re facets of the same being.
That sounds incredibly challenging for an actor, bouncing around between six separate parts, then ultimately bringing them all together as a whole. “Dangerous adventure” sounds like an apt description indeed.
While this is a crazy cool concept, Cloud Atlas sounds like a lot to cram into a single feature. Even in capable hands, with an excellent cast, it is difficult to imagine a scenario where this doesn’t end up a jumbled mess of ideas, times, places, and characters. But if they pull it off, Cloud Atlas might be amazing. More power to them.