Posed like a Christmas card from that family down the street no one really likes to make eye contact with, Empire have got their grubby little mitts on the first official image from the people behind the film adaptation of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas.
It all looks rather perplexing.
Now as someone who knows nothing whatsoever about the book - other than it’s affinity for the eclectic – the image pretty much delivers the bewilderment I expected:
Amongst the mayhem at least the people are easily identifiable. In the middle there’s (from right to left) Tom Twyker, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski and there’s author David Mitchell popping a squat behind them. Everyone else hasn’t merited a mention in any press coverage but I can confirm that they look satisfied that the film has finally wrapped. So that’s nice.
Apparently all of the assorted and seemingly meaningless ephemera that surrounds the talented types does have relevance to the novel so helpfully Empire in all of their grace have included an explanation with their scoop:
If you know the book, you’ll also recognise props from the six interlinking tales. We’ve spotted the VW Beetle of crusading journo Luisa Rey (Berry), the ’70s thriller that should inject serious voltage into the film’s middle act (if you really know the book, you’ll spot that it’s drab green not rust orange).
Also on display are a pair of Chatham Island totems, a piano belonging to the composer of the ‘Letters from Zedelghem’ chapters, some dystopian gadgetry from near-future Korea, and a cart that we’re guessing gets used to carry post-apocalyptic veggies around Hawaii.
Sounds like I have a lot to catch up on:
The book concerns 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 civilisation — 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.
The sheer volume of plot to tackle here becomes apparent when one looks at the production schedule. The cast is huge featuring Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, James D’Arcy and Jim Sturgess to name but a few. The six stories involved span multiple continents and centuries with everyone playing multiple roles. To make things even more complicated alongside the Wachowski’s unit director Tom Twyker ran a second unit in parallel in a bid to get the sprawling material filmed in time for its approximate release date of ‘late 2012’. Pleasingly they seem to have succeeded.
Another piece of good news was that the film got made at all, even better when you consider that it’s with the Wachowski’s co-helming. Famously selective in their interactions with the media (and seemingly their projects) since rising to eminence with The Matrix, they have had the transient media presence of an odourless gas. Well it’s good to see them back. After the steaming wreckage of Speed Racer’s LSD tinted mayhem skidded into a cinema near you and then straight back out again a few years ago it’s great to see that the twosome can still cobble together a budget to rival the GDP of a small country.
Let’s just hope they use it wisely and for once equal the potential they showed way back in 1999.