David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas is a pretty complex novel, with six stories told by one character to another in different time periods that loop back around to the beginning. To say that co-directors Tom Twyker, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski have their work cut out for them in adapting the book for the big screen is an understatement.
Talking about Hugh Grant about his role — make that roles — in the film, Empire discovered nothing about Cloud Atlas is simple.
“I have six cameo parts in this strange, ambitious film,” he said. “I do a lot of killing and raping. I wear an awful lot of prosthetic make up, too. You probably won’t know that I am in the film! But it was a laugh. I thought before I read it that I’d turn it down, which I normally do, but I was interested in meeting the Wachowskis because I have always admired them enormously. And they are so charming and fascinating.”
The actor mostly known for nice-guy roles said that playing such evil characters required a look inside himself. “I slightly called my own bluff,” he said. “In one of the parts I am a cannibal, about 2000 years in the future, and I thought, ‘I can do that. It’s easy.’ And then I am suddenly standing in a cannibal skirt on a mountaintop in Germany and they are saying, ‘You know, hungry! We must have that flesh-eating, like a leopard who is so hungry…’ and I am thinking, ‘I can’t do that! Just give me a witty line!'”
With filming wrapped, the Wackowskis and Twyker are working on putting everything together, something Grant is excited to see. “I have seen little bits of cut footage and it is just astonishing,” he said. “I probably had 20 shooting days, and each of them is shooting their own part of the film with their own crews. It’s remarkable.”
The film, which also stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Hugo Weaving, Jim Broadbent and Ben Whishaw, does not yet have a release date set, but should be out later this year.