Aleksandar Hemon scored a rare chance to profile the publicity-averse Wachowskis as they prepare to unleash Cloud Atlas onto the world.
I first met the Wachowskis in December, 2009, when they were in the midst of their struggle to find financing for “Cloud Atlas.” Uncomfortable with being idle while they waited, they were also developing “Cobalt Neural 9,” a project that had grown out of their frustration with the Bush Presidency and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Curious about how the early aughts would be perceived in the future, the Wachowskis imagined a documentary film made eight decades from now, looking back at the country’s plunge into imperial self-delusion. In order to write a script for “Cobalt Neural 9,” the Wachowskis were filming interviews with people, from Arianna Huffington to Cornel West, who they thought might be able to help them elucidate their concerns. I was invited to participate and was costumed to look as if I were speaking in 2090. Dressed like a Bosnian Isaac Hayes (with sparkling lights attached to my skull, a psychedelic shirt, and a New Age pendant), I ranted about the malignant idiocy of the Bush regime. Lana sat next to the camera, asking most of the questions, while Andy was somewhere beyond the lights, his voice occasionally booming from the void.
Usually, I experience an erosion of confidence around famous people-an inescapable conviction that they know more than I do, because the world is somehow more available to them. But I got along splendidly with the Wachowskis. Seemingly untouched by Hollywood, they did not project the jadedness that is a common symptom of stardom. Lana was one of the best-read people I’d ever met; Andy had a wry sense of humor; they were both devout Bulls fans. We also shared a militant belief in the art of narration and a passionate love for Chicago.
Eventually, I asked them to consider letting me write about the making of “Cloud Atlas.” They talked it over and decided to do it. By then, they’d sent the script to every major studio, after Warner Bros. had declined to exercise its option. Everyone passed. “Cloud Atlas” seemed too challenging, too complex. The Wachowskis reminded Warner Bros. that “The Matrix” had also been deemed too demanding, and that it had taken them nearly three years to get the green light on it. But the best the studio could do for “Cloud Atlas” was to keep open the possibility of buying the North American distribution rights, payment for which would cover a portion of the projected budget.
I read the book while on vacation and after rewatching the trailer, I am beyond excited for this movie. Still don’t understand how it’s not 14 hours long, but hey.
The Wachowskis (The Matrix movies) and Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) are teaming up to bring David Mitchell’s award-winning novel, Cloud Atlas, to the big screen. It’s an ambitious effort given the plot of the book:
The novel consists of six nested stories that take the reader from the remote South Pacific in the nineteenth century to a distant, post-apocalyptic future. Each tale is revealed to be a story that is read (or observed) by the main character in the next. All stories but the last are interrupted at some moment, and after the sixth story concludes at the center of the book, the novel “goes back” in time, “closing” each story as the book progresses in terms of pages but regresses in terms of the historical period in which the action takes place. Eventually, readers end where they started, with Adam Ewing in the Pacific Ocean, circa 1850.
Here’s an extended trailer of the film:
The trailer is also on Apple’s site along with a short commentary by the directors. BTW, the Wachowskis are no longer brothers because Larry had sexual reassignment surgery and is now Lana…the directors’ commentary is the first I’ve seen of her since the switch.
[This is a hoax. Sorry to get your hopes up/down. thx, @kimberlyp] According to a report at Ain’t It Cool News, Keanu Reeves said that he met with the Wachowskis and that they are working on a “script treatment” for a fourth and fifth Matrix movies that would feature Reeves as Neo.
Says he met the Wachowski’s (no emphasis on the word brothers), for lunch over Christmas and stated that they had completed work on a two picture script treatment that would see him return to the world of the matrix as Neo. Says the brothers have met with Jim Cameron to discuss the pro’s and con’s of 3D and are looking to deliver something which has never been seen again. keanu stated that he still has an obligation to the fans to deliver a movie worthy of the title “The Matrix” and he swears this time that the treatment will truly revolutionise the action genre like the first movie. Wachowski’s are working on a movie called “Cloud Atlas” at the moment, once that concludes they will talk again.
And also, there’s talk of a Bill & Ted 3. Take a few minutes to let all that sink in before continuing with your day.
These newly released stills from the upcoming ‘Speed Racer’ movie do a lot to lend credence to star Susan Sarandon’s claim back in August that the Wachowskis’ entirely unique vision for the film required the development of new, unprecedented technology and visual effects trickery. Her summary of the film’s thematic elements: “It’s all about cheating and betting and how things are fixed and everything else, but it’s also about family values and pancakes are love.”
At the time it was just a whimsical sound bite, but these new images make me head-splittingly happy, enough to buy all the way in to the pancake love. (thx joseph)
Update: Greg over at greg.org poses the question: Why does the media refuse to grant Lana (né Larry) Wachowski her right to the feminine pronoun?