The movie adaptation of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas has been in development for a while now with Tom Hanks, Natalie Portman and Halle Berry attached to star and Ian McKellen and James McAvoy offered roles. Berry said in November that things may get going in the summer but the movie, which is being produced and co-directed by The Wachowskis (The Matrix), first had to find studio backing.
With the talent involved I have quite an interest in the project, and while doing some general browsing of IMDB (yes I know, not the most reliable source) I noticed the Cloud Atlas page had been updated and stated that Bay Films (Michael Bay’s production company) will produce alongside Reliance Entertainment. The page also says Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks Pictures will distribute overseas, while Disney’s Touchstone will be handling US distribution.
As we all know IMDB can be updated by anyone, but if the above information is true it could mean The Wachowskis have finally got studio backing and could begin filming sometime this year. Tom Tykwer (who is also co-directing) has been working on adapting the novel into a screenplay for over a year now, so it should be ready to go.
Here’s the synopsis of the book:
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 $80-$100 million. Over recent weeks there have been reports that Natalie Portman has pulled out of the movie due to her pregnancy, and Ian McKellen will obviously be busy in Middle Earth with The Hobbit, but we should be getting confirmations soon if Michael Bay and co. have stepped in to get the project moving.