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David Mitchell Talks About Adaptation Process For Wachowski’s ‘Cloud Atlas’; To Shoot Entirely In Berlin

Posted by , on June 22, 2011 at 5:33 pm 

We’ve heard some details here and there about the Wachowski siblings‘ collaboration with Tom Tykwer, Cloud Atlas, but a lot of other things remain a mystery. Based on David Mitchell‘s novel, it’s apparent that the trio of directors are really swinging for the fences with their ambition, something that should come with adapting a story that spans thousands of years and has six unique main characters. Now, some more information has come in from The Guardian, who managed to talk to Mitchell himself about the film’s script and also confirmed the German production will shoot entirely in Berlin.

Calling their take on his material “deeply impressive,” he noted that the trio “aren’t attempting merely to film the book,” which he says is “why many adaptations come to grief.” His explanation of their approach to the material can be read below:

“Rather, the three directors have assembled Cloud Atlas and reassembled it in a form which – fingers crossed – will be a glorious, epic thing. The reincarnation motif in the book is just a hinted-at linking device, but the script gives it centre stage to link the six worlds with characters, causes and effects. A novel can’t do multi-role acting: a film can. The directors are playing to the strengths of their medium, just like I try to.”

This is similar to something that Hugo Weaving let slip back in late May, when he said that it will feature “six characters in the same film,” but, most interestingly, that they’re “all different people in six different stories.” As I said then, this ties into the book’s description of the individual characters hearing “each others’ echoes down the corridor of history.”

He also seems enthusiastic about the prospect of his book being turned into a movie. When talking about being on the set of the movie, he said, “Watch a line I wrote come out of the amazing Jim Broadbent‘s mouth? Wild horses couldn’t keep me away.” You can gather from the above quotes that he doesn’t mind things being changed around for the adaptation, and it’s nice to see him be supportive of this attempt at tackling his own work, when so many other authors seem to hate the idea of something they’ve done being altered.

The cast – which also includes Tom Hanks, Ian McKellan, Halle Berry, Ben Whishaw, Susan Sarandon, and James McAvoy – is made up of distinct actors, and that should allow for the changes in time and setting to have an even greater impact. I don’t know how they’ll be employed in their respective story, or in the stories of others, but that’s all part of the fun when it comes to thinking about the movie. Shooting will begin this September in Germany, with an October 2012 release planned.

What do you think of the method being employed to tell this story as a film? Does this sound like something you would find interesting?


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