With the Wachowski siblings in the midst of filming segments of the massive Cloud Atlas adaptation, it looks as if Andy and Lana are ready to jump back into the Hollywood machine in a big way. Warner Bros. is reportedly setting up a new project for the pair (unfortunately, not their long-discussed hard-R Iraq War homosexual romance drama) that will see them back on a familiar ground. The new film is called Jupiter Ascending, and while little is known about the project, we do know that it is an original sci-fi idea from the pair, and that the studio is already ringing the “franchise” bell. They are looking for a spring production start, which means that the buzz now revolves around finding an A-list star to lead the project.
The Wachowskis’ previous original sci-fi franchise, The Matrix, was not only a huge financial and popular success (making a staggering $1.6b worldwide), but the first film is also one of the best-rated and reviewed sci-fi films of the past couple of decades. We won’t talk about Reloaded and Revolutions here (not a fan). But what the franchise proved was that the Wachowskis are adept at conceiving of and executing a large-scale sci-fi concept that can appeal to both critics and moviegoers. If Jupiter Ascending is of the same mold, everyone is in for a treat. Now, if we could just get a logline on the project (I’m already picturing an epic battle between the actual planet of Jupiter and everyone else – like that little bitch Pluto). That is precisely why I am not a sci-fi screenwriter and director, because my ideas are terrible.
The Wachowskis’ Cloud Atlas project is currently shooting, with the pair filming segments along with director Tom Tykwer. The adaptation of David Mitchell’s novel once seemed unfilmable, but the Wachowskis and Tykwer have made waves by casting a huge A-list cast (including Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving, HalleBerry, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant) who will all play very different roles across the project’s different time periods. With no footage yet available, it remains to be seen what the film will look like, but at the very least, it’s an ambitious undertaking. [Deadline Woodland Hills]