In early December 2011, The New York Times ran a feature story on the Wachowskis (the team behind The Matrix series) and their fight to bring CLOUD ATLAS to the big screen. The story begins back in 2005 on the set of V For Vendetta when Natalie Portman gave Lana Wachowski a copy of the book by David Mitchell. Lana was instantly swept off her feet by the novel’s six obliquely connected stories, and soon her and her brother Andy Wachowski were writing the script.
They finished writing the script about a year later and spent the next two years after that looking for financing, and only securing about 60% of the budget after having scoured the globe looking for anyone and everyone to invest in their film. No studio wanted to touch it, so the financing deals had to be 100% private cash from investors. Having worked their asses off, and not being able to line up the remainder of the money, they were close to giving up. But rather than throwing in the towel, the producers translated the screenplay into more than half a dozen Asian languages and found that the film’s treatment of reincarnation resonated with potential investors in the East. “The theme of the story is rebirth, and it comes straight from the basic ideal of Buddhism,” said Michelle Park, chief executive of the Bloomage Company, a Korean film distributor. Ms. Park describes her company’s investment as “unusually high” by Korean standards. Money came from the Singapore container ship magnate Tony Teo; the Hong Kong film distributor the Media Asia Group, which made what its chief executive, John Chong, called the company’s “largest ever investment in a Western production”; and Dreams of the Dragon, a Beijing film company that had not previously invested in a major film. One of its owners, Wilson Qiu, in an e-mail, cited his “fascination with the source material.”
During shooting of the film last November, Berry told The New York Times: “The biggest change for me as an actor is to have two different film units and two different film crews and to go between the two from one day to the next.” She described playing “a Jewish woman in the 1930s” for the third director, Tom Tykwer, then becoming “an old tribal woman” for the Wachowski siblings the next day, and losing track of fellow cast members amid the layers of makeup and costumes. “Some days I go into the trailer, I’ll be having a conversation — I won’t even know it’s with Hugh Grant until five minutes in,” Ms. Berry said. You can read the full story at The New York Times.
Earlier today a phenomenal 6-minute trailer for the film was released, and there is really nothing else to say but “HOLY. SHIT!” This look so damn good it’s almost beyond belief. It was also recently announced that CLOUD ATLAS will have its world premiere this September at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film opens wide on October 26th, which means you have plenty of time to read the book via Amazon. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go change my underwear.