It’s been 4 years since the Wachowski siblings last directed a feature film and it looks like their return to the big screen will be a very ambitious one. ‘Cloud Atlas’ will follow six different main characters with interconnected stories spanning six different time periods and geography. If that sounds a bit confusing, Hugo Weaving (‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,’ ‘The Matrix,’ ‘Captain America: The First Avenger‘) has at least given some clarification about what the film is about, which he’s starring in.
‘Cloud Atlas’ is based on the critically acclaimed book of the same name by David Mitchell. Besides having six different main characters whose stories will all be told at once through six different time zones and geographies, the movie becomes more complicated when you realize that each of the six main actors will be playing up to six roles each. As previously reported, one of Susan Sarandon’s cameos have her as an Indian man and Hugh Grant as a cannibal. Even Weaving admits the film can be hard to understand saying,”… six stories, six geographies and six time zones, and a number of actors playing up to six roles each. That’s a complex thing to try to imagine, even if you’ve done the most wonderful planning, which they had done. It was something you’re not going to quite be able to get a handle on until you see it and until you start putting it together…”
The one theme that does connect the whole movie, according to Weaver, is “the idea of being reborn and souls being reborn through time.” According to Weaving, the six characters he plays, “have a similar thematic arc, similar role to play, and as the film progresses, you get a strong sense of playing one (character) rather than six separate ones.”
One of the central concepts in the book is that the each characters’ souls are being reincarnated as they try to move forward by not making the same mistakes in their present lives as they did in their past ones. The Wachowski siblings seem to have taken this theme to heart. Weaving goes on to say that this project seemed to be something Lana Wachowski has been drawn to ever since having gender alteration surgery. “I can’t speak for Lana” he stated, “but it’s something that’s always interested her, and obviously at a very profound level… What’s fascinating about the adaptation of the book was that sense that you get in the book about souls being reborn, a particular soul… So to take that idea and run with it actually kind of became one of the key propellers for the project.”
With a clearer understanding of the film, it still sounds like a very ambitious undertaking. If done well, it could possibly become award winning. The film, however, could also be a complex mess. “…it’s a slightly dangerous adventure we embarked on,” says Weaver, “because to be honest you don’t know where it’s all heading, despite the wonderful preparation… (The) film’s told in a sort of mosaic way, where all six stories are told at once, at the beginning of the shoot you’d move from one character to another. But as the shoot progressed and it got towards the end, you were seeing more links between the characters. And indeed, there might be a cut from one of your characters to another character, so there’s a link between them.”
Movie goers will soon see the results as ‘Cloud Atlas’ debuts in theaters on October 26th.