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Hugo Weaving Talks Philosophical Explorations and Acting Challenges of ‘Cloud Atlas’

Written by on July 3, 2012 

The stars can talk it up all they want, but I still have no real idea what to expect from Cloud Atlas. You, surely, have already heard something about the film, a six-story collaboration between the Wachowski siblings and Tom Tykwer covering human life and its overall meaning, going from the 19th century up to its end; it’ll probably even have Tom Hanks play an old black woman at some point, for all we know.

This whole “shrouded in mystery and intrigue” is, if you ask me, only part of the pre-release fun — i.e., before trailers give far too much away — but that still doesn’t suppress my desire to know more. So, though Hugo Weaving‘s comments to THR will instantly be a priority to read, it’s also nice that he could shed the sort of light to make Cloud Atlas sound more and more like the most audacious studio film of 2012.

To him, this three-director collaboration is about “being reborn and souls being reborn through time” — which would account for “links between the characters” that he and his co-stars inhabit. This would, of course, be handled differently in the cinematic medium than on the pages of David Mitchell‘s original novel; for one thing, the Wachowskis and Tykwer have decided to just cut from, you could say, a character Susan Sarandon plays in one era to someone she’ll portray in another. (It should be said that the main protagonists are an 1800s ship captain, a ’70s reporter, a ’30s jazz musician, a post-apocalyptic tribesman, and a future-located clone.)

If you’re willing to go along with this pretty basic manipulation of film language, I’d think you’re ready to play along. Cloud Atlas might lack “a specific throughline connecting the various characters,” yet the stories give Weaving “a similar thematic arc, [and] similar role to play,” to the point where they soon become “facets of the same being.”

While I have full reason to expect this is going to be a huge mess that doesn’t really work for anybody — part of this support would be labeled “the Wachowskis‘ post-Matrix career” — such chances only further fuel my strong desire to see just how the heck this thing is going to come together and shake out. The possibilities are endless, and Cloud Atlas‘ favor only grows for yours truly because of this.

Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Bae Doona, and Jim Sturgess also star in the film, which will open on October 26th.

Has Weaving made you think Cloud Atlas could pull off its lofty goals?

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