This is one of a few future projects that I'm genuinely excited about... the big screen adaptation of David Mitchell's challenging tome Cloud Atlas, which is being written and co-directed by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run), and The Wachowskis, with Halle Berry, Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, Ben Whishaw and Jim Broadbent confirmed in starring roles.
A strong team both in front of and behind the camera IMHO, and one hell of a novel - challenging, labyrinthine, and upon a first read, many would probably dub it unfilmmable, but, thankfully, won't be a literal translation of it, and instead the directors will put their own individual stamps on it.
And I do mean individual, because, scheduled to begin photography next month in Berlin, it's being reported this morning that Tykwer and the Wachowskis will shoot different parts of the novel adaptation using two separate film crews, and the resulting footage later combined in the editing room to form some cohesive whole. Interesting...
The novel takes place between 19th century Australia to post-apocalyptic Hawaii, and THR suggests that Tykwer would handle the period pieces while the Wachowskis will shoot the stories with sci-fi elements in them.
Also worth noting is that the core group of starring actors will p;lay 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.
Budgeted at around $100 million, the film will be the most expensive German-produced film ever (although Warner Bros has a stake in it as well); author David Mitchell has read the script, and says that it's "deeply impressive," and furthermore, "they [Tykwer & the Wachowskis] aren't attempting merely to film the book, which is why many adaptations come to grief – the novel's already there, so why spend all that effort on an audiobook with visuals? Rather, the three directors have assembled Cloud Atlas and reassembled it in a form which – fingers crossed – will be a glorious, epic thing. The reincarnation motif in the book is just a hinted-at linking device, but the script gives it centre stage to link the six worlds with characters, causes and effects. A novel can't do multi-role acting: a film can. The directors are playing to the strengths of their medium, just like I try to."
Halle Berry is in very good company here, and, as I've already said a number of times, most recently after posting the trailer for her shark thriller, Dark Tide, she needs a hit badly! This could very well be it, even though she won't necessarily be the main/sole attraction.
The film is expected in the fall of 2012.
Looking forward to seeing what comes of this.