11. The 2144 character of Dr. Ovid, played by Halle Berry, was supposed to be Tom Hanks.

“I wasn’t always Dr. Ovid,” said Halle Berry, referring to a male Korean doctor seen in Neo Seoul. “At one point Tom was going to be Dr. Ovid and she was going to be a woman. And then somewhere along the line they said, ‘No, you have to be Ovid because of your soul’s journey.” Tom Hanks added “I could not be good at that point. I could not be servicing the heroes.”

12. Ben Whishaw and James D’Arcy were both cut from additional stories.

Ben Whishaw, who appears in five of the six stories, almost made it into the sixth, but the role got cut. He was supposed to be a Korean businessman in 2144 Neo Seoul. James D’Arcy, similarly, was cast as a nurse in 2012 and while she appears every so briefly, a line of dialogue was cut. “But because I didn’t speak, I spent a day and a half on set thinking quite seriously about this character’s back story,” he said. Both revealed that after being cast in their main roles, all additional parts were very spontaneous.

13. Author David Mitchell has a cameo.

“Blink and you miss me,” David Mitchell said, “But as Sonmi is leaving the rebel base, she goes up some steps, I’m walking down them, our eyes lock for about 1.5 seconds.” Later he appears in the background of another pivotal scene involving that character. The idea was for him to be a subtle, omnipresent being in that time which, he joked, appealed to his vanity as their ultimate creator.

The final two facts contact spoilers about the ending of the movie.

14. Halle Berry describes her role after The Fall as an extraterrestrial being.

As we’re in spoiler territory here, I’ll say when I first saw the film, I was a little thrown off of the reveal at the end – that Zachry and Meronym were not on Earth. These two facts clear that up. First of all, Berry said that her character, Meronym is an “extraterrestrial being from another planet that came down to help this other group of people.” Which leads to …

15. The satellite was a communication tool to another world and is not in the book.

Zachry and Meronym’s main objective in the 2300s, after The Fall, is to climb the mountain and set in motion some sort of satellite that launches a laser into the sky. David Mitchell confirmed “It’s a communication device to an off-world colony of human beings.” He said it alerted them “there’s still life down here that knows how to use this technology, please come and rescue us. It’s not in the book.” So while the bulk of that final section of Cloud Atlas takes place on Earth (Hawaii, to be exact) long after some terrible disaster, the bookends of an older Zachry are on another planet where humanity will survive.

 

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