Following news last month that Tom Hanks was confirmed to star in Cloud Atlas, THR has word that Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, and Ben Whishaw have also signed on to appear in the film. We heard about Berry’s involvement in late 2010 when she mentioned she’d be part of the film, and last month there was speculation Hugo Weaving would be joining the cast.
When the project was first announced in June 2010 X-Men: First Class actor James McAvoy was said to be circling a role, but it now looks like fellow Brit Ben Whishaw is playing the part instead. Whishaw previously starred in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer directed by Tom Tykwer, who will be co-directing segments of Cloud Atlas with The Wachowskis (The Matrix).
Cloud Atlas is a big ensemble, so more names will likely be signing on soon. Natalie Portman and Ian McKellen were initially offered roles last year, but Portman is currently growing a human inside of her and McKellen is in Middle Earth, so we can expect a fairly young actress and an older male actor to fill out the rest of the cast. Interestingly, THR points out “each actor in the film will be playing multiple roles”.
Here’s the synopsis of the book written by David Mitchell, which the movie is based on:
The story presents six narratives that evoke an array of genres, from Melvillean high-seas drama to California noir and dystopian fantasy. There is a naive clerk on a nineteenth-century Polynesian voyage: and aspiring composer who insinuates himself to the home of a syphilitic genius: a journalist investigating a nuclear plant: a publisher with a dangerous best-seller on his hands: and a cloned human being created for slave labour. These five stories are bisected and arranged around a sixth, the oral history of a post-apocalyptic island, which forms the heart of the story.
Some have said the book is un-filmable as it spans thousands of years and over several genres, but The Wachowskis aim to achieve it with a budget of around $100-$140 million. Filming will begin later this year, and Warner Bros will release the movie sometime in 2012. Focus International is currently at the Cannes Film Festival selling international rights.