Posted on Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 by Russ Fischer
The most striking revelation in some recent casting announcements about Cloud Atlas, which Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis are adapting from the novel by David Mitchell, was that all the major actors would be playing multiple roles. That wasn’t the biggest surprise, as the primary characteristic of the novel is that it is a nested set of six stories, each of which relates to the others in ways that are occasionally minor and (once or twice) quite significant. Having actors play multiple characters would emphasize the relationship between the stories and, given that the tales cross gulfs of time, keep the primary cast from spiraling up into the dozens.
But I hadn’t gone so far as to assume that each actor would have a role in each of the six stories. Now it seems that at least one will, as Hugo Weaving says he’s got six roles in the movie.
Speaking to the Herald Sun, Mr. Weaving said,
That’s a project that’s really exciting because all the actors will be playing more than one role… I actually have six characters in the same film and they are all different people in six different stories.
What are the six roles then? I previously speculated on these:
Hugo Weaving could be one of many people, starting with Dr. Henry Goose, a primary supporting character in the Adam Ewing tale. He could also possibly play Robert Sixsmith, a friend of Robert Frobisher, who takes an active role in Luisa Rey’s tale. (But probably not, for reasons I go into next.) Other likely options include Joe Napier, head of security for the power plant in ‘Half-Lives,’ or Bill Smoke, a contract killer in that same story.
(Refer back to our last big Cloud Atlas piece for more info on the context for that paragraph.)
There are quite a few other minor roles in various stories for which he’d be well-suited. I’m still waiting to see how the fifth story, ‘An Orison of Sonmi-451,? is cast, as it takes place in a future and highly corporate Korea. But I bet we can guess how Hugo Weaving appears in that one: there’s one point where a character in that story watches a film that tells the fourth tale, ‘The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Canvendish,’ and he could end up in that film within a film. (Assuming that the ‘film’ watched by characters in that story isn’t just presented as the actual film of the fourth story that we see. Confusing!)