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

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist August 31, 2011 at 2:10AM

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."
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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.

This article is related to: Films, Actors, Cloud Atlas, Ben Whishaw


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