October 25, 2012

'Cloud Atlas' tries to match the experience of reading the book

Just as the book imparted a story of cosmic solidarity, karmic responsibility and spiritual unity, so does the film adaptation.

By JOHN ANDERSON McClatchy Newspapers

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Tom Hanks and Halle Berry in “Cloud Atlas,” a movie Berry says reminds her that what we do reverberates throughout time.

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Hugo Weaving takes aim in “Cloud Atlas.”


"CLOUD ATLAS," starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Jim Sturgess, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw and Doona Bae. Directed by Tom Tykwer and Lana and Andy Wachowski. Rated R for violence, language, sexuality/nudity and some drug use. Running time: 2:52

"We say we're the most spoiled actors in Hollywood," she said of the "Cloud Atlas" cast. "On our next projects, we'll be saying, 'We only get to play one person?' It was the best fun you can imagine."

In explaining the approach that he and his fellow director-screenwriters took, Andy Wachowski said what they attempted to match was the experience of having read the book, rather than reading it. "You read a book, you go to bed, you think about it, you sleep on it," he said. "It impresses itself on your subconscious. While this is happening, your brain is finding connections in the book of the sort David Mitchell has ingeniously laid out between narratives." To achieve the same kind of effect, he said, they "struck on this idea of the mosaic."

Those familiar with "Cloud Atlas" know the number six figures prominently (six story lines, the sextet written by Whishaw's character, James D'Arcy's character, Rufus Sixsmith, etc.). The only actors who play six roles, however, are Hanks and Berry. So they must be the stars.


"I think Doona Bae is the main character," Hanks said of his Korean co-star. "She's the one who actually articulates the crux of the story, and it made me slap my head in wonder: She's talking to James D'Arcy, and she says, 'The truth is singular; its versions are mistruths.' And I said, 'Holy smoke, to have that thrown down at the beginning of the movie! This is going to be some ride.' "


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