Declared by German media as "the most expensive German film of all time," boasting an all star cast including Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon and Jim Broadbent (playing mutiple characters no less) and with both The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer at the helm, it could easily be said that "Cloud Atlas" has a world of expectation riding on its shoulders.
Adapted from the complex novel by David Mitchell, many have been curious about how the filmmakers will tackle the story follows six plot threads across time, which fold in on themselves: 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. But according to author David Mitchell, he's been quiet pleased with the solution they've found.
"They aren't attempting merely to film the book, which is why many adaptations come to grief – the novel's already there, so why spend all that effort on an audiobook with visuals?" Mitchell told the Guardian. "Rather, the three directors have assembled 'Cloud Atlas' and reassembled it in a form which – fingers crossed – will be a glorious, epic thing. The reincarnation motif in the book is just a hinted-at linking device, but the script gives it centre stage to link the six worlds with characters, causes and effects. A novel can't do multi-role acting: a film can. The directors are playing to the strengths of their medium, just like I try to."
It's always heartening to see an author not only full on board with an adaptation, but with a firm understanding that film and books are two entirely different mediums. At any rate, it seems the filmmakers have found the right way to wrestle with the 500-page plus book. It certainly sounds like it will another grand spectacle from the folks who gave us "The Matrix" and "Run Lola Run."
The film is budgeted at around $100 million dollars with shooting to take place in Germany on location and in the famed Babelsberg studios. Production is slated to begin this fall and Guardian mentions an October 2012 release date being scheduled. Of course, that's not official and could just be a target date for now but, it fits into the ridiculously quick turnarounds which are de rigeur these days. But new films from Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder and The Wachowskis in 2012 from Warner Bros? Sounds like a geek's wet dream.