Ambition was always inherent in adapting Mitchell's book, with its unabashedly big themes, dense nesting doll structure, as well as shifts in tone and style in each individual story. The Filmmakers have doubled down, though, as The Matrix directors Lana and Andy Wachowski and Run Lola Run helmer Tom Tykwer share writing credit and split directorial duties across the different segments of the film.
As unconventional as their plan for the film is, this trailer suggests that the trio have managed to capture the scope of the book, which spans hundreds of years. In this almost six minutes of footage, you'll see all the major characters, from Patrick Ewing and Robert Frobisher to Luisa Rey, Somni-451, Timothy Cavendish, and Zachry. Incredibly, it looks like their tales actually hang together as a unified narrative, due at least partially to the filmmakers making Mitchell's connections far more explicit and having actors play multiple roles.
UPDATE: The first teaser poster for the film is now online, too:
As an announcement of intent to moviegoers, you can't really get much bigger than this. It's big, bold, and visually stunning enough to sway even those who might be befuddled by the story. It's also quite faithful to the source material. Fans of the novel will recognize many, many memorable scenes and incidents. Of all the stories, "An Orison of Sonmi-451" looks the most different, with the Wachowskis ramping up the action and the science-fiction visuals. Still, it's plenty cinematic and seems to retain the actual content of the story.
I had long assumed that Patrick Ewing was among the roles played by Tom Hanks, but Jim Sturgess is playing the part instead. That mean Hanks will appear in that first story as Dr. Henry Goose instead. Either way, the sprawling, recurring cast includes Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, Hugo Weaving, James D'Arcy, and Susan Sarandon.
Cloud Atlas is set to play at the Toronto Film Festival in September, and it arrives in theaters nationwide on October 26th. See y'all in line.