Editor’s Note: This is the second of a four part series breaking down /Film’s interview with Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer, the writers and directors of Cloud Atlas. Look for a new part each day leading up to the film’s release October 26. Read part one here.

With six stories, three directors and actors playing multiple parts across totally different stories, there’s a lot going on in Cloud Atlas. One of the film’s pleasures is how art, and a love of art, is always part of the story. Whether it’s one character reading a book, listening to a piece of music, or watching a movie, art is always at the center of Cloud Atlas helping to sew all of its seemingly random threads together. This is a fact that’s not lost on the film’s directors, all art lovers themselves.

In the second part of our interview with the writers and directors of Cloud AtlasAndy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer, we discuss this particular reading of the film and how art is truly a way to link us all.

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Editor’s Note: This is the first of a four part series in /Film’s interview with Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer, the writers and directors of Cloud Atlas. Look for a new part each day leading up to the film’s release October 26. 

Film fans would be hard-pressed to find two more perfect late nineties movies than The Matrix and Run Lola Run. Both were groundbreaking, visually stunning and instantly memorable. Each officially announced its director(s) as a force to be reckoned with. Those directors, of course, are Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer. Since then, each director has made several solid films (Heaven and Perfume for Tykwer, Speed Racer and the Matrix sequels for the Wachowskis) but none have quite lived up to the insurmountable heights of those signature films.

That changes with Cloud Atlas, a sweeping, epic film that challenges the way stories are told all together. Based on a novel by David Mitchell, Tykwer and the Wachowskis took six radically different but related stories and rearraged them to be digested as one fluid story. The film jumps from one timeline to another, with each scene informing and enlightening the previous one, even though they’re set in totally different periods and genres. Actors portray upwards of six roles, each giving the viewer a hint of how these beings relate to each other, and how they affect the others – and human history – in radical and exciting ways.

How is a film of that magnitude possible? Here, in the first part of our interview, the directors talk about the difficulties of shooting a three-hour movie with six separate stories simultaneously in different parts of the world and then putting it all together into one cohesive story. Check back later this week for the rest of the interview.

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As fantastic a film as Cloud Atlas is, one of the best things about this new film is that fans are finally getting to hear from two of its directors, Andy and Lana Wachowski. Formerly the Wachowski Brothers, the siblings exploded onto the scene in 1999 with the seminal sci-fi action film The Matrix, which was then followed by two sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. All three were massive commercial successes, but the sequels were far from revered by fans. Unfortunately, since the Wachowskis chose to maintain their privacy during this time, few got to discuss those films with them.

So now there’s Cloud Atlas and the Wachowskis are being incredibly generous with their time to discuss the film. I had 25 minutes to talk to them and while I had a few Matrix themed questions prepped, we delved so deep into Cloud Atlas we never got around to the subject of their other films. (That interview will be up soon.) One journalist did talk about The Matrix, though, and was fortunate enough to do it on camera. In the video, Lana Wachowkski talks about their intentions with the films, focusing on how the trilogy evolved into more than just a straight action vehicle. Watch it below. Read More »

Given the sprawling scope and staggering ambition of the Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer‘s Cloud Atlas, it seems only appropriate that the movie open on some of the largest screens in the world. IMAX has announced that the epic saga will hit their super-sized screens next month, on the same day as Cloud Atlas‘ regular, non-IMAX release. It’s worth pointing out, however, that Cloud Atlas was not shot in native IMAX but is being digitally remastered for the release.

Still, whether you plan to see it on the big screen or the extra-big one, Cloud Atlas looks like one of this fall’s most intriguing offerings. To pique viewer interest, Warner Bros. has just unveiled the first TV spot for the movie. While the previously released extended and theatrical trailers underscored the movie’s more emotional themes, the new 30-second spot cuts straight to the sci-fi action goodness. Watch it after the jump.

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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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One of my all-time favorite Comic-Con memories was walking the floor, glimpsing over to a small booth in the 4000s and seeing Larry and Andy Wachowski. The writers and directors of Bound and The Matrix were just sitting there. No line, no nothing. That’s what happens when you make one of the most influential and revered films of a generation but refuse to do interviews about it. You gain a certainly level of anonymity and mystique. The kind that allows you walk around unnoticed Comic-Con, which is exactly how the Wachowskis wanted it.

Since my Comic-Con encounter, where the brothers couldn’t have been nicer, Larry has become Lana and the pair have teamed up with Tom Tykwer to make Cloud Atlas, Warner Bros.’ 2012 Oscar hopeful starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and others, scheduled for release October 26. The film had a long, difficult road to the big screen and is a huge risk, both personally and professionally, for the siblings. To combat that, they’ve finally begun to shed some of their press armor and open up about not only this film, but everything else as well.

We saw a brief video introduction to the film, another clip discussing technique and now The New Yorker has published a stunning profile on Andy and Lana. In it, we learn all about how they became filmmakers, their influences, background, Lana’s gender transformation, the difficulties of financing and adapting Cloud Atlas, the success of The Matrix and even some revealing details on film they partially shot called Cobalt Neural 9. It’s a must read for all film fans. Get the link after the jump. Read More »

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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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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