Wachowskis and Tykwer to Shoot CLOUD ATLAS Next Month but with a Reduced Budget

     August 22, 2011

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The Wachowski Siblings and Tom Tykwer’s audacious adaptation of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas has been long in development but it will finally go before cameras in mid-to-late September.  Mitchell’s novel spans six different lifetimes across six different eras.  The film stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, Ben Whishaw, and Jim Broadbent.  If you’re wondering about the ambition of the project, Weaving said back in May that he was playing six different characters, which sounds like each actor won’t be playing just one character in one time period.

However, the project will also be working with less money.  Producer Stefan Ardnt tells THR that the budget for Cloud will be “definitely lower” than then rumored $100 – $120 million, which isn’t too surprising.  Speed Racer was a flop and Tykwer has never worked with $100+ budget.  However, the production has gotten significant tax breaks by shooting about 80% of the movie in Babelsberg, Berlin and the surrounding area.  The film is also getting made due to a unique financing arrangement from Berlin bank IFB and German regional film funding body, the Medienboard.  Hit the jump for more details on Cloud Atlas.

The Wachowskis and Tykwer will shoot their parts of the movie parallel to each other. While Ardnt would confirm how they’ll split the plot, THR expects that Tykwer will handle the period plotlines while the Andy and Lana Wachowski will turn their attention to the novel’s sci-fi elements.  Focus Features will handle worldwide distribution while Warner Bros., the Wachowskis’ home since The Matrix, will handle the movie stateside.

Here’s the synopsis for David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas:

A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan’s California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified “dinery server” on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation — the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other’s echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.

In his captivating third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity’s dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us.

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