Offers Out To Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, James McAvoy And Ian McKellen For Roles In 'Cloud Atlas'

Last year we heard that Tom Tykwer was working to adapt David Mitchell's massive post-modern novel Cloud Atlas for producers the Wachowskis. At the same time we heard that Natalie Portman had been linked to the adaptation, but there was no official confirmation and things have been pretty solid on the Cloud Atlas front since then. (In part because Tykwer was directing another film, Drei, which wrapped at the end of November.)

Now we're hearing that the Natalie Portman link is legit, and that offers have gone out to quite an impressive roster of additional actors.

Production Weekly (via The Playlist) reports that offers have gone out to Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, James McAvoy, Ian McKellen and Natalie Portman. These are just offers at this point, and so we don't know who, if any, of the people on the list have accepted, nor do we know what parts they might play. This echoes a list of names we saw earlier this week but didn't run, as we had no corroboration.

Mitchell's writing is great and quite cinematic, and Tykwer could be a great match. But Cloud Atlas is a pretty daunting thing to adapt. As Peter said previously,

The book is comprised of six seperate but loosely connected stories that take us from the remote South Pacific in the nineteenth century to the far future after a nuclear apocalypse. Each tale is told from the point of view from the the main character in the next. It's unclear if Tykwer is focusing on one, a couple or all of the stories. I cant imagine that a film adaptation would feature all six stories as the narrative would become too episodic. And each story is a vastly different genre than the next, spanning post-apocalyptic sci-fi to modern comedy. The author has said that the book's theme is predacity — individuals prey on individuals, groups on groups, nations on nations.

Tykwer has also said he's adapting What is the What?, the novel by Dave Eggers, but it sounds as if Cloud Atlas is the director's primary project right now.