It’s one of the most the most fascinating and complex movies of recent times, one that received rave reviews – “an extraordinary, revolutionary movie, one of the best I’ve seen since Avatar” – and opened hundreds of debates about reincarnation. But how much do you know about it? Here are 10 things you didn’t know about Cloud Atlas. Or maybe you did…
1. It’s co-directed by The Wachowskis, the writing/directing/producing team behind The Matrix trilogy. They used to be known as The Wachowski Brothers but then Larry became Lana and now they are just The Wachowskis.
2. The other director (when you see the movie, you’ll see why multiple directors were needed) is Tom Twyker, the man behind Perfume: The Story of a Murderer and the acclaimed Run Lola Run. He also did the Golden Globe-nominated music.
3. The amazingly starry cast – Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Ben Wishaw, James D’Darcy, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, the list really does go on – had to play up to eight parts each in Cloud Atlas. Hugh Grant as a tattooed cannibal anyone? Or Hugo Weaving as a busty nurse?
4. The six stories in the movie are spread around the world from the South Pacific to Edinburgh and San Francisco to Seoul. It also spans the centuries from the mid 1800s way into the future.
5. It cost over $100 million to make. And you can see why!
6. The big difference between the book and the movie is that while the book tells each story separately and then comes back to them all at the end, in the film the stories are intercut so you are dashing backwards and forwards.
7. The story is about reincarnation, something that’s flagged up by the fact that the characters all have a comet-shaped birthmark.
8. A lot of critics have mentioned the similarities between Cloud Atlas and The Matrix trilogy, not just because of the directors but because of the sequences set in the future and because some of the themes are the same, humans being a danger to the future of the planet just one of them.
9. Because of how complex and expensive Cloud Atlas is, it was almost abandoned before it got started. It was only Tom Hanks’ enthusiasm to plough ahead that get the project on track. ‘Let’s do it. I’m in. When do we start?’ is how he put it.
10. When it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival Cloud Atlas received a ten-minute standing ovation. And that’s a long time to be standing and clapping.