With filming set to begin next month it looks like all of the major players in Cloud Atlas have been announced. The most recent was Jim Sturgess last week, who joins Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Bae Doona, Susan Sarandon, Ben Whishaw and Jim Broadbent.
So far none of the roles (each actor will play multiple) have been confirmed and we’ve had to go on IMDB listings and speculation from those who have read David Mitchell’s novel, but in a recent interview Ben Whishaw (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer) confirmed the three roles he’ll be taking on. One involves learning how to play the piano, and one involves being a woman.
Let’s talk Cloud Atlas for a moment. Are you learning piano now for the movie?
Yes, I am! It’s something I’ve wanted to do for ages, and it was a lovely excuse to fulfill that dream. I’m really enjoying it. I’m not that bad, but all I can play so far are the pieces in the film. And I’m reading the book now; I guess I’m about halfway through.
One of your co-stars, Hugo Weaving, said he was playing six parts. Who are your characters?
Everyone in the cast is playing at least three parts, some big and some small. I’m doing three: Frobisher in the thirties; a female American in the seventies, in the Luisa Rey section; and a smallish role, where I’m basically an extra, in a modern-day nursing home, in the Timothy Cavendish section. Everybody’s swapping race and gender, so it’s very ambitious and quite fun. I’ll really love playing a woman!
Robert Frobisher is the lead character in the chapter ‘Letters from Zedelghem’ which is set in the 1930s. Frobisher, a penniless young musician, flees from his debtors in England and finds work as an amanuensis to a dying world-class composer (either Jim Broadbent or Tom Hanks) living in Belgium.
Cloud Atlas follows six storylines which range from the South Pacific in the 19th Century to California in the 1970s to a post-apocalyptic future. The Wachowskis (The Matrix) and Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) are co-directing and will be in charge of different teams to shoot the six storylines. Tykwer will probably handle the period era plotlines while The Wachowskis direct the sci-fi scenes set in the future.