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Halle Berry Will Play "A Jewish Woman In The 1930s" & "An Old Tribal Woman" In Wachowski/Tykwer "Cloud Atlas" Adaptation

by Tambay A. Obenson
December 6, 2011 12:49 PM
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Some interesting tidbits about the upcoming, highly anticipated film, from a profile in yesterday's New York Times...

The performers, meanwhile, shift between jarringly different roles. “The biggest change for me as an actor is to have two different film units and two different film crews and to go between the two from one day to the next,” Ms. Berry said in a phone conversation. She described playing “a Jewish woman in the 1930s” for the third director, Tom Tykwer, then becoming “an old tribal woman” for the Wachowski siblings the next day, and losing track of fellow cast members amid the layers of makeup and costumes. “Some days I go into the trailer, I’ll be having a conversation — I won’t even know it’s with Hugh Grant until five minutes in,” Ms. Berry said.

In a previous post, which included pics of Halle Berry (1 above), on location, shooting Cloud Atlas, in Glasgow, Scotland, wearing wigs and dressed in what looked like 1970s gear, I noted that Halle's part of the film (in that specific sequence being shot anyway) was as journalist Luisa Rey, who (in the book the film is based on) investigates reports of corruption and murder at a nuclear power plant, a story reminiscent of classic movie The China Syndrome, which was released later on that decade.

It's one of the 6 narratives in the story, and it takes place in San Francisco, California, in 1975. So, obviously Glasgow, Scotland is doubling for San Francisco. Her story plays a part in the next chapter's leading character, of the 6-story epic.

But no mention of her playing a "Jewish woman in the 1930s," nor an "old tribal woman." So this gets more and more interesting, with each revelation.

You'll recall that, as already noted in past posts, the novel spans centuries and locations, “from Melvillean high-seas drama to California noir and dystopian fantasy.“ And also worth noting is that the core group of starring actors will play multiple roles across all the different storylines, periods and locations, which might make the film even more of a challenge to watch, but a good challenge.

Another interesting piece from the NY Times profile reads...

The Wachowskis are notorious for their secrecy, but they showed six minutes of footage at the American Film Market in Santa Monica last month. “It looks phantasmagorical,” said Victor Loewy, a seasoned international film distributor who bid on the United Kingdom rights after watching the clip. “It’s so unlike anything I’ve seen in 40 years in this business.

Well hot-damn! Big words... big words... I'm guessing the 6-minute footage screening wasn't open to the public ;)

Thus far, still very little has been revealed about what the film will look, sound and feel like, given the breadth and scope of the original literary work it's based on. 

It's one hell of a novel - challenging, labyrinthine, and upon a first read, many would probably dub it unfilmmable. Although, the film won't be a literal translation of it, and instead the directors will put their own spin on it. 

Cloud Atlas the film is expected in the fall of 2012, and I'm looking forward to it. The Wachowskis might have another game-changer on their hands... with Tom Tykwer holding his own as well.

Read the full NY Times profile HERE.

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More: Things That Make You Go Hmm..., casting

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  • roberto | December 7, 2011 11:19 AMReply

    i can't wait to see this film, sounds like a great role for Halle

  • Tamara | December 6, 2011 4:05 PMReply

    I look forward to viewing it. I tried the novel a couple months back, but didn't finish.

  • Nemesis | December 7, 2011 12:13 AM

    Weird (in a good way) book, for sure, but if taken as a collection of short stories, it makes for an easier (and more interesting?) read. Of course, wished I'd known this before I'd started the first two segments/stories/chapters... lol.

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