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Cloud Atlas is an German-made English-language historical/science fiction film directed by Tom Tykwer and The Wachowskis. The directors wrote the screenplay based on the 2004 novel of the same name by David Mitchell. With an ensemble cast to cover the film's multiple storylines, production began in September 2011 at Studio Babelsberg in Germany. The film is scheduled to be released the 26th of October 2012.

Plot Summary

The official synopsis for Cloud Atlas says, "[It is] an epic story of humankind in which the actions and consequences of our lives impact one another throughout the past, present and future as one soul is shaped from a murderer into a savior and a single act of kindness ripples out for centuries to inspire a revolution."[1]


Production Notes

  • Filmmaker Tom Tykwer revealed in January 2009 his intent to adapt the novel and said he was working on a screenplay with the Wachowskis, who optioned the novel.
  • By June 2010, Tykwer had asked actors Natalie Portman, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, James McAvoy, and Ian McKellen to star in Cloud Atlas.
  • By April 2011, the Wachowskis joined Tykwer in co-directing the film. In the following May, with Hanks and Berry confirmed in their roles, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Susan Sarandon, and Jim Broadbent also joined the cast.
  • Actor Hugh Grant also joined the cast days before the start of filming.
  • Cloud Atlas is backed by the German production companies A Company and X Filme, and Variety reported in May 2011 that the film had a production budget of $140 million. The filmmakers secured €1.5 million ($2.15 million) from Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, a German funder, as part of their plans to film at Studio Babelsberg later in 2011. The project also received financial support from Filmstiftung NRW, another German organization. The budget was updated to $100 million.
  • Filming began on September 16, 2011. German media considers Cloud Atlas to be "the first attempt at a German blockbuster" with its budget making it the most expensive German-produced film to date.
  • Tykwer and the Wachowskis are filming parallel to each other using separate camera crews.
  • Filming will also take place in Scotland and Spain (Mallorca).
  • Warner Bros. Pictures has said that they are happy with the film's 164 minute running time, after previously stating that it should not exceed 150 minutes.
  • All cast members have several roles in the final film, spanning different times, races and even sexes. This was achieved through prosthetics, wardrobe and tight production times to switch actors between units. For instance, Halle Berry described the experience of filming as a Jewish woman in the 1930s under the direction of Tom Tykwer one day, then switching to an old tribal woman under the helm of the Watchowsky siblings, and then again as an environmentalist in the 1970s, all in the same week.[2]