Behind The Scenes 'Cloud Atlas' Photo Gives Production Design Hints And Rare Look At The Wachowskis

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.

Empire has the picture.

In the center you see (from l-r) Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski. Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell is seated in the backgroud, while the film's producers stand nearby.

More interesting to me are the props and set decorations we can see in various places. The VW is from 'Half-Lifes: The First Luisa Rey Mystery,' which features Halle Berry as a journalist who gets into trouble when she investigates a nuclear power plant. The piano is from 'Letters from Zedelghem,' in which a hot-headed young musician takes a job working for an old composer in Belgium.

The blue ship on the left and the yellow balloons are from 'An Orison of Sonmi~451,' in which Bae Doona plays a clone engineered to work for a restaurant called Papa Song's. (The colors in those balloons aren't at all incidental, as those familiar with the book will immediately understand.) The monuments in the back are representative of 'Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After,' the post-apocalyptic tale that acts as the midpoint of the novel's progression. The cart dimly visible on the right may also be from that tale, or it could be from the first story, 'The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing,' a seafaring tale featuring Tom Hanks.

I'm very excited to see footage from the film, which doesn't have a final release date set, but is expected to land in late 2012.

Here's the description of the novel:

A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified "dinery server" on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilization — the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.

Edit: The Wachowskis are notoriously PR-shy. I think the last new photos of them were ones Ariana Huffington let out via Twitter just over two years ago. This may actually be the first 'official' photo of Lana Wachowski, so in that respect this image is like a quiet coming-out. I understand that it's a comment-worthy topic to some, but I ask that all comments below be phrased respectfully. Thanks.