Ben Whishaw Reveals He Plays A Woman In 'Cloud Atlas'; Says Cast Is Swapping Gender/Race For Roles

by Kevin Jagernauth
August 31, 2011 2:10 AM
4 Comments
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Reps Admit Actors Is In Discussions For 'Bond 23'



"It’s very clever what [the directors are] gonna try and do. I’m really really really excited about it,” Jim Sturgess recently teased us about "Cloud Atlas." “I think it’s going to be bonkers, it’s either going to work or it’s not. I’m really excited to see if we can pull it off, because it’s ambitious what they want to do."

Other than the fact that the cast would be playing multiple characters, details have been tight on the exact nature of the roles and what The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer have in mind for their adaptation of David Mitchell's sprawling, layered novel, but in an interview with Vulture Ben Whishaw has spilled the beans that Sturgess tried to keep a lid on, revealing not only the characters he will be playing, but another big twist in the approach that will certainly drive up chatter around the film.

"Everyone in the cast is playing at least three parts, some big and some small. I’m doing three: Frobisher in the thirties; a female American in the seventies, in the Luisa Rey section; and a smallish role, where I’m basically an extra, in a modern-day nursing home, in the Timothy Cavendish section," Whishaw said. "Everybody’s swapping race and gender, so it’s very ambitious and quite fun. I’ll really love playing a woman!"

Granted, while this writer hasn't yet dived into "Cloud Atlas," this was something we weren't expecting at all and it certainly adds an intriguing element to the film. Of course, this bit of info will inevitably bring up Larry Wachowskis change to Lana over the past few years, but that's kind of sidebar. Cinematically speaking, it's a pretty clever way to make sure big stars are seen throughout the film rather than just focusing on certain sections of the book and really, if Cate Blanchett can play Bob Dylan (who thought we would have brought that up twice already today) than anything is possible. At least in Whishaw's case, the transformation for his female character involved a full, androgynous body suit which included "Marilyn Manson breasts." So yeah, it will be fascinating to see how the cast is costumed for their various parts.

Co-starring Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent and Bae Doona, filming on "Cloud Atlas" kicks off in a couple of weeks. And certainly, if anyone sneaks a camera on to the set, those pictures should be much more interesting than your standard Henry-Cavill-standing-somewhere-taken-from-two-miles-away shots that usually pepper the blogosphere.

Meanwhile, Whishaw has also been rumored for a part in "Bond 23," allegedly titled "Carte Blanche." While that's not confirmed as of yet, U.K. reps for the "Bright Star" admit he has been in early discussions with the producers. We'll have to wait and see, but that at least sounds promising.

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More: Films, Actors, Cloud Atlas, Ben Whishaw

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4 Comments

  • anon | September 1, 2011 4:34 AMReply

    cloud atlas is honestly one of my favorite novels. i'm trepidatious about this adaption but i'm happy that the filmmakers are willing to take such huge risks and i hope they pay off. i predict that even if it's not good it won't be terrible, it'll be an ambitious, fascinating mess. those are some of my favorite movies.

  • ben | August 31, 2011 6:50 AMReply

    I can't imagine this movie working at all. the book's structural conceit was clever enough but ultimately the story was no big revelation. I predict this movie will be sort of like the anti-Dark Knight: a huge complex star-studded affair, but with a central story and throughline that no one cares about or understands. I don't see audiences around the country lining up for this mess.

  • anon | August 31, 2011 4:48 AMReply

    That's a pretty damn major spoiler right in the article title

  • Koto | August 31, 2011 4:42 AMReply

    Cloud Atlas sounds really fascinating.But...I'm just stunned by the comment Ben Whishaw plays Frobisher.I believed Jim Sturgess is perfect for the role.Whishaw is very talented,but he is bit too odd-looking for the part.But anyway...it is going to be very interesting and fascinating movie,I guess.

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