By Kevin Jagernauth | Indiewire August 22, 2011 at 1:26AM
With reports previously touting the forthcoming "Cloud Atlas" as the most expensive German production of all time -- with a budget said to be in the neighborhood of $150 million -- as the start date nears, there price tag has been lowered but don't think for a second that the project has gotten any smaller in scope.
Adapted from the complex novel by David Mitchell, the story follows six plot threads across time—a 19th century notary on a Pacific expedition, a bisexual musician in the 1930s, a female journalist in a thriller in 1970s California, an aging publisher in London in the present, a clone in a futuristic dystopia, and a Pacific survivor in a post-apocalyptic world—all of which fold in on themselves. Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent and Bae Doona are all on board, and will play multiple characters in the film with The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer directing. But here's the kicker. Each filmmaking team with shoot in parallel with one another, with their own production teams. Tykwer is expected to take on the period portions of the story, with The Wachowskis tackling the futuristic material.
Of course, how this all will come together will be fascinating to see considering the challenges the source material brings. "Many have called the novel unfilmable, but Tom [Tykwer] and the Wachowskis have found a way to tell these stories in an amazing, linear and very cinematic way," producer Stefan Arndt said.
The budget will now be running under $100 million, with a mid-September start being eyed with talent still not 100% locked down (though deals for all of the above are expected to close). No word yet on a release date, but Warner Bros. will release the ambitious project stateside. It's an impressive stew of talent and filmmakers and the trick will be in creating a coherent vision, but in an age of endless sequels and reboots, it's definitely exciting to see a film swing hard for the fences. [THR]