Cloud Atlas is an upcoming science fiction film written and directed by Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, and Andy Wachowski. The film is based on the 2004 novel of the same name by David Mitchell. With an ensemble cast to cover the film's multiple storylines, production began in September 2011 at Studio Babelsberg in Germany. The film is scheduled to be released the 26th of October 2012.
The official synopsis for Cloud Atlas says, "It is an epic story of humankind in which the actions and consequences of our lives impact one another throughout the past, present and future as one soul is shaped from a murderer into a savior and a single act of kindness ripples out for centuries to inspire a revolution."
The film is based on the 2004 novel Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Filmmaker Tom Tykwer revealed in January 2009 his intent to adapt the novel and said he was working on a screenplay with the Wachowskis, who optioned the novel. By June 2010, Tykwer had asked actors Natalie Portman, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, James McAvoy, and Ian McKellen to star in Cloud Atlas. By April 2011, the Wachowskis joined Tykwer in co-directing the film. In the following May, with Hanks and Berry confirmed in their roles, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw, Susan Sarandon, and Jim Broadbent also joined the cast. Actor Hugh Grant also joined the cast days before the start of filming. Cloud Atlas is backed by the German production companies A Company and X Filme, and Variety reported in May 2011 that the film had a production budget of $140 million. The filmmakers secured €1.5 million ($2.15 million) from Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, a German funder, as part of their plans to film at Studio Babelsberg later in 2011. The project also received financial support from Filmstiftung NRW, another German organization. The budget was updated to $100 million. Filming began on September 16, 2011. German media considers Cloud Atlas to be "the first attempt at a German blockbuster" with its budget making it the most expensive German-produced film to date. Tykwer and the Wachowskis are filming parallel to each other using separate camera crews. Filming will also take place in Scotland and Spain (Mallorca). Warner Bros. Pictures has said that they are happy with the film's 164 minute running time, after previously stating that it should not exceed 150 minutes. The MPAA has given the film a rating of R, "For violence, language, sexuality/nudity and some drug use."
Cloud Atlas is set to be released on October 26, 2012 in the United States. Warner Bros. Pictures will distribute the film in the United States and Canada, and Focus Features is handling sales and distribution for other territories.