The Wachowskis made news when they signed one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, Tom Hanks, for their next feature Cloud Atlas. Hanks is kind of a brand name in the moviemaking business, and has been for quite a number of years now; so he’s not really known for taking chances. The Wachowskis, on the other hand, are pretty much known exclusively for taking chances. Everything they have done so far has been weird, experimental, and up in its own head. The other name involved in the development of this project, Tom Tykwer, is pretty off the wall as well. He’s the guy who made Run Lola Run. And the source material for this new film, a David Mitchell novel also named “Cloud Atlas,” is no exception. It tells six different stories, each taking place in different times and places, but involving characters who are recognized as being the same people, or reincarnations of each other, or something. Basically what I’m driving at is that everyone signing on to this film will have to take on multiple roles, so if the Wachowskis want to pull this off, they’re going to have to get some great actors. Thankfully, so far they have.

In addition to having Hanks in the lead role, Cloud Atlas continues to add an impressive list of accomplished actors in supporting positions. Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, and Ben Whishaw had already been announced for key roles, and now when presenting the film to potential buyers and distributors at Cannes, the Wachowskis have announced that Susan Sarandon and Jim Broadbent will be in the film as well. They’re looking to make this a huge movie, costing over $100 million, so it’s probably important to potential investors that name talent be involved. I’d say that with these six names, the Wachowskis and Tykwer have achieved that goal already. Warner Bros. is set to distribute the film domestically, and I can’t imagine that the filmmakers will get through Cannes without having international taken care of as well. It looks like Mitchell’s strange novel is set to be a huge movie with huge movie stars and all the big budget trimmings, ain’t life grand? [THR]


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