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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Given the often contentious relationship between creators and the work they make, unions such as the Directors Guild of America serve a useful purpose. But sometimes rules just get in the way, which seemed for a moment like it would present a problem for Cloud Atlas, written by Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski (which is not a big deal for the WGA) and directed by all three as well. That last part is kind of a big deal for the DGA, which is old enough to remember when movies just had, like, ONE director.
Any credits issues for the film have been worked out, and so unlike the festival cut of the film, general audiences will see a version that explicitly states who “directed” which parts. After asking around, it seems like there won’t be any changes to the actual film, but after the break you can read Lana Wachowski’s comments about the credits, and check out a new TV spot for the film. Read More »
Posted on Monday, September 24th, 2012 by Angie Han
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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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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Posted on Thursday, September 6th, 2012 by Angie Han
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 »
Posted on Monday, August 13th, 2012 by Angie Han
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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The biggest conversation piece online yesterday was the long trailer for Cloud Atlas, the adaptation of David Mitchell‘s novel co-written and co-directed by an unlikely trio: Tom Tykwer, and Andy and Lana Wachowski.
Along with the trailer came something we linked yesterday, but which is worth highlighting in its own right: a video introduction from the three writer/directors, in which they explain their attraction to the material and the difficulty they had in getting it made.
For those who’ve paid attention to the career of the Wachowskis, this is a pretty notable thing, as the siblings are notoriously camera-shy. There are very few video interviews with them; and this is the first video featuring them to be released in many years. (The last one I remember hit around the time of the debut of The Matrix, in ’99.) That makes it worth a look right there. Read More »
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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 »
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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