The Wachowskis Rag About Hollywood

And here’s the thing: Just because they aren’t exactly first with this POV doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

‘Cloud Atlas’: Andy & Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer On The Problem With Hollywood – by Christopher Rosen

To call “Cloud Atlas” the year’s most ambitious film would be an understatement. The adaption of David Mitchell’s sprawling 2004 novel tells six interweaving stories — among them, a 19th century sea expedition, a present day fish-out-of-water comedy and a post-apocalyptic adventure set 106 winters after the fall of humanity — with stars like Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Jim Sturgess playing multiple roles of varying genders and race.

If that sounds too much for one director to handle, that’s because it probably was. The “Cloud Atlas” adaptation arriving in theaters on Oct. 26 was directed by threepeople: Andy and Lana Wachowski (“The Matrix”) and Tom Tykwer (“Run Lola Run”), all of whom co-wrote and co-directed “Cloud Atlas” together, after spending years trying to get the film financed. The project cost a reported $100 million, making “Cloud Atlas” the most expensive independent production ever. (Warner Bros. picked up North American distribution rights for the film and paid for a portion of the budget.)

The notoriously press shy Wachowski siblings and Tykwer spoke to HuffPost Entertainment about the lengths they went to get “Cloud Atlas” made, why the current Hollywood storytelling model is unsustainable, and how they feel about people criticizing the film’s Neo Seoul segment, which features Caucasian actors playing Koreans.

It’s incredible how well the six stories cut together. How much work did you have to do in the editing room to piece it all together or was that balance already present in the script?

Andy Wachowski: It was blind stupid luck.

Lana Wachowski: Blind stupid luck.

Andy Wachowski: We showed up in the editing room and the editor had it all assembled. It was fantastic! We’re geniuses! [Laughs]

Tom Tykwer: It was a step-by-step experience. In every step of the making of the film, we came closer to what you see. We were obviously trying to give the narrative a shape that feels as fluid as possible in the writing of the script, but there’s so many challenges with this intertwined way of storytelling. Because you have so many tonal shifts as we were not handling one genre. There is multi-layer storytelling within one genre, but very rarely within an idea that involves many different genres. Going from comedy to action to drama to science-fiction to period within one or two minutes and making it as connected as we felt it was, is challenging. Particularly the tonal shifts were challenging. Even though we had felt that we had found great transitions in the preparation and the design — even though we had really thought about many, many lines that needed to appear in the future or the past — we often found those ideas, when they were executed in the editing room, did not work because of the tonal jumps. We had to re-address some of those crisscrossing and find the relationship with them.

Read it all

The Wachowskis (and Shia LaBeouf) Expound on H’wood’s Fear of Originality

…And what they say, sadly, seems right on the money to us:

The Wachowskis On ‘Cloud Atlas’: ‘Originality Cannot Be Economically Modelled’ – by Christopher Rosen

“Cloud Atlas” is one of 2012’s most interesting films. With six storylines (ranging from the 19th century to the post-apocalyptic future), actors like Tom Hanks and Halle Berry in multiple roles, and three directors, the adaptation of David Mitchell’s award-winning 2004 novel will either be one of the year’s best works or one of its most confounding. (Judging from the epic, brilliant and gorgeous first trailer, hope for the former.) Which is why it’s no wonder that Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer almost couldn’t get “Cloud Atlas” made in the first place.

“It is hard to grasp how often this movie has been dead and resurrected,” Lana Wachowksi told Aleksandar Hemon in the latest issue of The New Yorker. “Cloud Atlas” is the most expensive independent production ever, with a budget of over $100 million. Despite Hanks, Berry, Hugh Grant and Susan Sarandon in the cast, and the braintrust behind “The Matrix” trilogy as the driving creative force, the film couldn’t get proper studio funding.

“The problem with market-driven art-making is that movies are green-lit based on past movies,” Lana said. “So, as nature abhors a vacuum, the system abhors originality. Originality cannot be economically modelled.”

As Andy Wachowski later echoed, while discussing the frustration of seeing investors pull out: “You bet on the movie you like because you have taste. It’s not like buying Shell Oil. You get into the movie business because you like movies. Not because you like money.”

The Wachowskis aren’t the first members of the Hollywood community to discuss how difficult making anything other than a franchise film has gotten in the current economic climate.

Read it all (because it’s finally getting to the good part)

Looking forward to this film. But maybe it’s just because we dig Lana so much?