With Cloud Atlas set to play TIFF, we knew that images and new info would be arriving soon, and now we’ve got the first official pics of Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, and Ben Whishaw as they appear in two of the film’s six stories.

Written and directed by Tom Tykwer (directing one unit) and Andy and Lana Wachowski (co-directing another unit) the film is based on David Mitchell‘s novel of the same name, and features all the actors playing multiple roles, some of which have them crossing gender and racial lines. (Hugh Grant says his characters are “incredibly evil,” too.) Their characters appear in six stories that cross genres and centuries, but are all thematically related, and linked by paths of intersection between the various characters’ lives.

Above you can see Hanks and Berry as they appear in the novel’s final story ‘Sloosha’s Crossin’ an’ Ev’rythin’ After,’ which takes place in post-apocalyptic Hawaii. (Well, “final” isn’t quite right, as readers of the novel know, but that’s close enough.) Below you’ll find the shot of Broadbent and Whishaw. And more images are coming later today, at which point we’ll update.

Update: the promised additional images are here, and available in a flash player below.

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Andy and Lana Wachowski suffered a big stumble in 2008 with their candy-colored misfire Speed Racer, but the Matrix directors are back with a new project that could be their most intriguing yet. Co-directed by the siblings and Tom Tykwer and based on the acclaimed book by David MitchellCloud Atlas features a star-studded cast — including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, and Bae Doona, each in multiple roles — in six interlinked stories that unfold across different times, places, and genres.

It’s been high on our list of films we’re eager to see, and our anticipation was only heightened by the strong early buzz from test screenings. Now the great news is that we’ll get the chance to check it out sooner than we thought. Warner Bros. has just set a U.S. release date of October 26 for the film, bumping it up several weeks from its previously announced December 6 release date. Read more after the jump.

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There’s a lot going on at Cannes right now, but one of the most exciting activities is the deal-making for Cloud Atlas. The ambitious film from Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski adapts David Mitchell‘s novel, which is comprised of six nested stories that span genres and centuries.

I’ve been madly curious about the film. I like the source material, and the cast is impressive: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant and Bae Doona. That those people are all playing multiple roles, with Hugh Grant calling some of his “incredibly evil,”  is more intriguing.

Now reports out of Cannes suggest that the film actually works. We’re hearing that the movie is almost three hours long, and that it is being set for a US release date of December 6, right in awards-season territory. Read More »

And this is part of why I positioned Cloud Atlas, written and directed by Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski, as my second most-anticipated film of 2012.

Let’s run through the basics again, for those who are just joining in: One film. Two parallel film units with three directors shooting six interconnected stories. Most of the cast plays multiple roles, sometimes switching genders and races in tales that range from classic adventure to detective thriller to dystopian sci-fi.

We know the cast (Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant and Bae Doona) but have only known a bit about the characters each person will play. Now Hugh Grant is talking about Cloud Atlas, and it sounds like he had the time of his life playing six “incredibly evil” characters, even if each is a relatively small role. Read More »

Russ Fischer’s 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2012

Enough about 2011; let’s look ahead to 2012. This past year was good about offering a diverse set of films that catered to many tastes, especially crowds that wanted something out of the range of standard multiplex fare. But 2012 looks like a much stronger year. We can almost always look ahead to a new year and say that there is a great batch of new films from established favorite filmmakers, movies with wonderful casts,  giant event movies and promising indies. But 2012 looks like it has more of those than usual. It’s going to be a good year for movie watchers.

After some deliberation (which no doubt has still allowed me to overlook something for which I’ll facepalm later) here is a list of ten films that I’m very excited to see in 2012, followed by a full page of discussion about a whole bunch of other movies that didn’t make my personal cut but are still bright spots on the 2012 calendar for various reasons. This list could change a lot in the next couple weeks, as Sundance (and then Cannes in May) could reveal a good many new films that will be bright spots on the calendar in ’12.

I’ve also exercised a certain hopefulness here, as there are a few films that don’t yet have official 2012 release dates. Let’s hope they don’t slip. Read More »

We’ve talked a lot about Cloud Atlas, which sees Tom Tykwer teaming up with Andy and Lana Wachowski to head up parallel film units each shooting three tales adapted from David Mitchell‘s novel. The cast is great (Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant and Bae Doona) and we’ve gone over and over about how the actors are playing multiple roles, genders and races. It’s big ambitious stuff, but if you haven’t read the novel it might also be easy to get totally lost in all the explanation. (Having read the book, it becomes a lot more clear, I promise.)

We;ve seen a few on-set photos and recently got a production wrap photo that shows a few of the props and set dressing bits used in the film.

But how about a couple more images? There is now one shot that suggests a lot about how the book’s six stories are being visually connected, as it shows the ship from the first tale seemingly approaching the dystopian version of Seoul, South Korea that is the setting for the fifth. There is also a great concept rendering of Seoul in the year 2144, complete with a high-speed pursuit in progress. And, as a bonus, we’ve got an actual shot of South Korean actress Bae Doona as she appears in the film. Check ‘em all out below. Read More »

I’ve gone on and on about Cloud Atlas, the film that Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski are directing based on the novel by David Mitchell. You’ll have to excuse my interest and enthusiasm — the film is a genre-hopping collection of six stories, with Tykwer and the Wachowskis directing parallel film units that each tackled three tales. It’s a crazy piece of ambitious filmmaking.

The cast is huge (Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant and Bae Doona) and most actors are playing multiple roles. We’ve seen some spy pics of the shot, but now we have the first official image. It shows none of the actors, but does give a rare look at the Wachowskis, and shows some hints of the production design that should help ground the movie for anyone who has read the book.

Check out the pic below. Read More »

From the very beginning, the Andy and Lana Wachowski & Tom Tykwer adaptation of the David Mitchell novel Cloud Atlas has sounded pretty crazy. There’s the simple fact that the book is built out of six stories, each of which follows a different set of characters and is based on a different genre of storytelling. (You’ll find a ’70s thriller, a post-apocalyptic story of rebuilding civilization, a parable about corporate-controlled society, and more.) Some of the characters are releated to others in different stories, and there’s the idea that one soul connects all the tales. That’s just the book!

The film features a massive cast, including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant and Bae Doona. We know that many cast members are playing multiple characters in different stories, sometimes changing race and gender. And the film is being shot in two parallel halves, with Tom Tykwer directing three stories and the Wachowskis directing three. This movie might be a wreck, but if so it will still be the most fascinating wreck of 2012. And if it is good it might be remarkable.

In a new piece that focuses on the unconventional funding model for the movie, we get a bit more info about who’s directing what, and what characters at least one of the actors is playing. Read More »

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