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The Wachowskis, A Grand Piano, A VW Beetle & A Hover-Bike Star In First Image From 'Cloud Atlas'

by Oliver Lyttelton
December 22, 2011 9:21 AM
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You can tell that 2012 is going to be a strange sort of year when the boldest, riskiest film set for release stars a brace of A-listers, including the traditionally safe-playing likes of Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant and Halle Berry, and is directed by the pair behind one of the biggest franchises of the last couple of decades. But nothing due in the next twelve months seems quite as bonkers, as potentially brilliant and/or disastrous as "Cloud Atlas," the long-awaited adaptation of David Mitchell's brilliant, acclaimed novel, from the Wachowskis ("The Matrix") and Tom Tykwer ("Perfume," "Run Lola Run").

The book spans thousands of years, from an 18th century Pacific expedition to a post-apocalyptic savage land, taking in a 1970s thriller, a 1930s romance and a comedy of manners in the present day along the way, the script runs close to 250 pages, and the cast, which also includes Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, James D'Arcy and Doona Bae, will play multiple roles, swapping genders and even races. So yeah, not your average blockbuster.

Just in time for Christmas, the film has wrapped, and Empire has the first image from the production, one released to celebrate the occasion. It's not a still, as such, but instead sees Tykwer and the publicity-shy Wachowskis posing, along with author  Mitchell and the film's producers, among a selection of props from the film and, while we assume the movie won't be including all these at the same time, it gives you a glimpse of how expansive the scope of the film is. A grand piano and statues from Chatham Island sitting alongside some kind of futuristic hover-bike from 'Neo-Seoul' and some natty pop-art chairs with the logo for Papa Song's can all be glimpsed.

We love the book, and we're still stunned at the ambition of the project, so can only imagine what this all looks like to someone unfamiliar with Mitchell's work. We're either looking at a "Southland Tales"-style fiasco, or something like we've never seen before, a genius return to form for filmmakers who've been off their game for a while. Or possibly both. We'll find out when "Cloud Atlas" hits theaters on October 26, 2012.

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More: Cloud Atlas, The Wachowskis, Tom Tykwer

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  • Kotomi | December 23, 2011 9:54 AMReply

    I just hope/think film is going to be spectacular.And have good feeling with it.At least it's going to be something special and unique,I guess.I love this casting,mainstream actor or not,they are very talented.Also nice to see Asian actors are actually cast in this film.

    >is it just me or is Jim Sturgess box office poison? no matter what size of the part he plays, his films never play worth a damn in the united states. the sturgess curse strikes again.

    Simply put,Sturgess just doesn’t break yet.(But trust me,he is the future Oscar winner.And future Grammy winner(well,at least nominee) Btw, "21" is definitely considered as hit.And Across the Univers has many fans in US,I heard.So...sorry,but what's your point?

  • Editing Team | December 22, 2011 11:59 AMReply

    @Just To Be Anal, thanks for the catch!

  • Just to be Anal | December 22, 2011 11:09 AMReply

    It's Papa Song - not Dada Song.

  • Eddie Nucks | December 22, 2011 10:16 AMReply

    is it just me or is Jim Sturgess box office poison? no matter what size of the part he plays, his films never play worth a damn in the united states. the sturgess curse strikes again.

  • Cde. | December 22, 2011 9:42 AMReply

    If this is a disaster, I think it's going to be a glorious disaster that we'll talk about for years and will eventually be reevaluated as a messy work of brilliance.

    I'm one of the loons who think Speed Racer is brilliant and the best thing the Wachowskis have put out, so their 'off' period only lasted two unnecessary sequels for me. As for Tykwer, I haven't seen 3, and The International was not good, but Perfume was great. Really under appreciated and wonderfully bonkers.

    So I'm stoked as hell for this.

  • wad | December 22, 2011 9:42 AMReply

    I'd love if this turn out to be a Southland Tales type of film...

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