With six stories spanning nearly three hours, told by an ensemble cast and three directors, the sheer amount of information presented by and discussions one can have about Cloud Atlas is staggering. Co-writers and directors Tom Tykwer, Andy and Lana Wachowski took David Mitchell‘s novel, which nests six stories within each other, and broke it down into one forward-flowing mosaic. Set in several time periods from the 1800s through the 2300s, the film blends genres and tones to show the human soul moving from century to century, and explore how our actions in one life might affect the next.

And that’s just a very superficial interpretation. There’s much, much more to the movie, which is why it’s one of the year’s best.

As one might expect on a production so massive, there are tons of bits of behind the scenes trivia and on-screen secrets. Were there additional stories meant for the film or novel? Were the directors ever on set together? How did characters get cast? Which actress thought she’d be fired? And what exactly happens at the end of the film? We’ve complied 15 things you probably didn’t know, or notice about Cloud Atlas. After the jump, read all about them. Read More »

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The themes of Cloud Atlas are legion, and the 160 minutes the film spans are epic. Six or seven plots are considered, depending how you define your storylines, and the time period ranges from 1849 to somewhere 400 years into the distant future. What I’m getting at here is the grandness of the scope, the giantess of the spectacle, the massive overarching ambition of the work. Co-writers and directors Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski have delivered a weighty film tome for our analysis, and I have a feeling this one is going to be spurring conversations for years to come.

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‘Cloud Atlas’ Theatrical Trailer

Anyone who’s really eager to see the Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer‘s Cloud Atlas has likely already pored over that six-minute trailer released over the summer, but for the rest of the moviegoing public there’s now a more traditional two-minute theatrical version. Whichever camp you fall into, the new cut is worth checking out, as there’s a bit of fresh footage to be found here.

Based on David Mitchell‘s acclaimed novel, Cloud Atlas weaves together six tangentially related stories that traverse time and space. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, Susan Sarandon, and Bae Doona star, each playing a number of different characters across the different plotlines. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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Early Buzz: ‘Cloud Atlas’ Test Screening Reactions

The same breathtaking ambition that makes Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer‘s David Mitchell adaptation Cloud Atlas so intriguing also gives it the potential to flop, hard. Weaving together six interlocking stories that cut across time, space, and genre is difficult enough to do within the confines of a novel, to say nothing of a three-hour film. Then there’s that insane casting: stars like Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, and Jim Sturgess are each playing multiple characters, in some cases switching genders or races to do so.

Thankfully, buzz from test screenings suggests that much more of it works than not. Keep in mind that quite a few things may have changed in the few months since testing began (for one thing, some of these folks saw a cut that was four hours long), and that these reactions are coming from people whose tastes we don’t know. Even so, a flood of positive reactions seems like a very promising sign. Hit the jump to read the comments.

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We’ve finally got a chance to see footage from Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski‘s genre-hopping and centuries-spanning epic Cloud Atlas. If you just want to watch the footage, hit the jump now. But once you’ve seen that, I expect those who haven’t read the book might be wondering just what the hell is going on.

Because some people don’t start paying attention to a movie until the trailer is out (which makes total sense) let’s recap quickly: the film is based on David Mitchell‘s novel that is structured as a series of six vaguely interrelated stories, presented in an unusual structure. In the novel, you get half the first story, which jumps to the first half of the second, and so on until the entire sixth story plays out at the center of the novel, and then things work back out to the opening, so the end of the book is the second half of the first tale.

The trailer suggests that the film plays up the interconnectedness between stories perhaps even more than the book does. In part that’s because some of the key characters in various tales are played by the same actors. So, as the trailer shows, Tom Hanks and Halle Berry play characters in at least two or three chapters. (And does the trailer reveal too much for one of Berry’s characters? Maybe, but it’s not the worst choice.)

That’s just the beginning. What’s with the shots that look like they’re right out of Amistad? What’s all the futuristic stuff about? Below we’ll use some shots from the film to illustrate what’s going on with the film, in as spoiler-free a manner as possible. Read More »

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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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 »

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