You can't help but be a little bit amused. Featured in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, Natalie Portman -- in a sidebar element discussing other things than acting and "Black Swan" -- is asked about her rumored participation in "The Dark Knight Rises" and "Superman: The Man Of Steel." She essentially denies both claiming she knows nothing of either and of course superhero devotee sites publish this news instantly.
All well and good; it's their bread and butter, but finally catching up with the issue this week, we'd argue they missed something much more newsworthy: a big reveal about who's directing the long-gestating adaptation of David Mitchell's heralded 2004 novel "Cloud Atlas."
"I don't know what's going on with financing," Portman told EW in an interview that's not online yet. "I read it while doing [The Wachowski produced] 'V for Vendetta' and I gave it to the Wachowskis and to Tom Tykwer (he shot a "Paris Je Taime" short with her around the same time). Now they're directing it together, the three of them. I will have some acting role in it if it happens, but probably nothing major."
That certainly explains things. When first reported, the project was a Tykwer film with the Wachowskis producing. Then Halle Berry -- one of the actresses attached to the project -- said the Wachowskis were directing it in the summer of 2011.
We never really bought that and Portman's comments suggest there's no concrete start date either. Good luck getting info out of anyone outside of an actor speaking out of turn. The Wachowskis' reps won't comment (unless your last name is Fleming).
Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas" features six main characters, and spans thousands of years and several genres -- it would seem unfilmable to most. Actors who seemed loosely attached to various parts at one time or another include the self-confirmed Portman, Berry, Tom Hanks (Berry "confirmed" him) and then Ian McKellen and James McAvoy. It's unclear if any of them will still participate in the film if it ever gets off the ground.
Could the Wachowskis be developing something mainstream as a way to build financing for the more abstruse book? Recently the siblings announced a modern day "Robin Hood" film that could potentially star Will Smith. Frankly, it sounds sort of awful, but it does sound immensely more commercially viable than "Cloud Atlas" and their other not-so-family-friendly film, "Cobalt Neutral 9" which is an homosexual love story set in the middle of the Iraq war which features American soldier falling in love with a Jihadi.
Who knows what's next, but we won't be surprised if it's another "Robin Hood" film which would be a shame since Ridley Scott just bored us to tears on that front. C'mon Hollywood, do the right thing; it's rather obvious.