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 »

Ten years ago this week The Fellowship of the Ring was released. Peter Jackson‘s first Tolkien adaption silenced a great many naysayers who said J.R.R. Tolkien‘s novels could never be properly translated to film. It also fostered a mainstream interest in fantasy movies that continues a decade later.

The development of a film based on Tolkien’s original Middle-Earth novel, The Hobbit, was the subject of speculation as soon as Jackson started work on The Lord of the Rings. Actually making the movie was a terrifically complicated process that involved rights deals, the financial solvency of MGM, a long period of development under original director Guillermo del Toro, and the eventual return of Peter Jackson to the director’s chair.

Now the first teaser trailer — a long teaser, at that — has been released for the first of two films based on the novel. Get the first look at footage from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, after the break. Read More »

From the very beginning, the Andy and Lana Wachowski & Tom Tykwer adaptation of the David Mitchell novel Cloud Atlas has sounded pretty crazy. There’s the simple fact that the book is built out of six stories, each of which follows a different set of characters and is based on a different genre of storytelling. (You’ll find a ’70s thriller, a post-apocalyptic story of rebuilding civilization, a parable about corporate-controlled society, and more.) Some of the characters are releated to others in different stories, and there’s the idea that one soul connects all the tales. That’s just the book!

The film features a massive cast, including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant and Bae Doona. We know that many cast members are playing multiple characters in different stories, sometimes changing race and gender. And the film is being shot in two parallel halves, with Tom Tykwer directing three stories and the Wachowskis directing three. This movie might be a wreck, but if so it will still be the most fascinating wreck of 2012. And if it is good it might be remarkable.

In a new piece that focuses on the unconventional funding model for the movie, we get a bit more info about who’s directing what, and what characters at least one of the actors is playing. Read More »

The Wire‘s Michael K. Williams (who, like John Goodman, just guest-appeared on Community) was in the running for the title role in Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained, and though he lost the part to Jamie Foxx, he may still end up in the film, in a part written just for him.

Hopefully another new job won’t get in the way; Williams will now also be a producer and actor in Life Garland‘s indie thriller The Suspect, written by Stuart Connelly. Here’s how the writer describes the film: “Two African American social scientists pose as bank robbers in an effort to understand the racial dynamics of small-town law enforcement. However, their experiment takes an unplanned, deadly turn.” That’s a great premise that could be the beginning of a compelling film. We’ll definitely follow the development. Shadow and Act reveals that Isaiah Washington is also set for the film.

After the break, David Duchovny rides a sub, and The Last Stand and Cloud Atlas get new actors. Read More »

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Cloud Atlas is one of the most interesting projects shooting this fall, as Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski have co-written and are co-directing an adaptation of David Mitchell‘s genre- and centuries-spanning novel.

Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant and Bae Doona are all in the cast, and will all play multiple roles. (Some will play different genders and races, too.) Tykwer and the Wachowskis will each direct separate film units, presumably with each unit tackling three of the novel’s six interconnected stories. But questions of exactly who plays who, and which stories each unit will film, have been unanswered so far.

The first set photos have arrived, and they start to answer those questions. The pics confirm that one of Halle Berry’s roles is Luisa Rey, a journalist who runs into trouble when she investigates goings-on at a nuclear power plant. And it seems that her story is one that Tykwer is directing. Read More »

Don’t let the cheery title fool you: Oranges & Sunshine actually tells a harrowing tale that’s all the more distubring for being true. In the first feature by director Jim Loach (son of The Wind That Shakes the Barley helmer Ken Loach), a social worker named Margaret Humphreys (Emily Watson) encounters a woman seeking answers about her past. As Humphreys digs deeper, she uncovers a massive conspiracy to deport thousands of abandoned kids from British children’s homes to brutal work camps in Australia. Hugo Weaving and David Wenham also star.

Though it sounds like something out of a Charles Dickens novel, the events are actually chillingly recent — the real-life Humphreys conducted her investigation in the ’80s and learned that these injustices had taken place during the ’50s and ’60s. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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This isn’t the sort of movie that we normally see Hugh Grant agree to make. The guy is drawn to romcoms of various stripes, with the last vaguely edgy movie he made possibly being the ’96 thriller Extreme Measures.

So it’s a big surprise — and not an unpleasant one — to see Grant booking a role in Cloud Atlas, the century-spanning, genre-hopping literary adaptation from co-writers and co-directors Tom Tykwer and Andy & Lana Wachowski. Read More »

My interest in the Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski adaptation of David Mitchell‘s novel Cloud Atlas just grew even more. We’ve reported on the film a fair few times, and it continues to sound wild. The book is an odd beast, with six stories, each presented in halves and nested within one another, that cover hundreds of years, dozens of characters and quite a few genres from nautical adventure to post-apocalyptic societal reboot.

Then there’s the fact that Tykwer and the Wacowskis are directing the film together, but with parallel film units. And the topline cast, which includes Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent and Bae Doona, is all set to play multiple roles. Now actor Ben Whishaw says that the actors will swap gender and race, too. (For Hanks, it’ll be Bosom Buddies 2.0.) How can you not be excited for this movie? Read More »

Jim Sturgess Joins the Cast of ‘Cloud Atlas’

The latest addition to Cloud Atlas is Jim Sturgess, who is currently muddling through the film One Day opposite Anne Hathaway. The film is based on a David Mitchell novel, which is divided into six centuries-spanning tales that embody various genres from nautical adventure to sci-fi and post-apocalyptic rebirth, is quite a piece of work, tying grand stylistic playfulness to genuinely moving ideas about the interconnected nature of all our lives. It sounds like a massive undertaking, and the actor recently spoke about the possibilities of the job. Read More »

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Questions about Cloud Atlas, the very ambitious adaptation of David Mitchell‘s novel that was written and will be directed by Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski, are slowly being answered. We know the cast (Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, Ben Whishaw, Jim Broadbent and possibly Bae Doona) and we know that many, if not all of those actors will play multiple roles in the six interconnected stories that make up the novel’s unconventional narrative.

But we’ve wondered how Tykwer and the Wachowskis will manage to direct the film together, and now here’s info: they’ll work with two full filmmaking teams in parallel. Tykwer will head one team and the Wachowskis the other when cameras start to roll in Germany next month. Read More »