Thanks to the ongoing 2012 Cannes Film Festival, we now have an update on perhaps the most daring, big-budgeted sci-fi film on the horizon: the adaptation of David Mitchell’s acclaimed novel Cloud Atlas, as directed by the triumvirate of Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) and Matrix creators Andy and Lana Wachowski.

Warner Bros. heads have reportedly approved the directors’ hefty final cut of the film – which clocks in at about 2 hours and 44 minutes. Moreover, the studio has tentative plans to release Cloud Atlas in theaters on December 6th, 2012, so as to qualify the prestigious picture for this year’s Oscars.

As reported by Indiewire, Warner Bros. originally passed on Cloud Atlas after balking at the projected $170 million price tag. (Due partly to memories of Speed Racer, no doubt.) Thereafter, the Wachowskis and Tykwer managed to collect the necessary funding to move forward from overseas financiers – somewhere in the order of $101 million – and snagged a great cast that includes A-listers like Tom Hanks, who gave up his customary $20 million + salary to help lower costs.

Speaking of the Cloud Atlas cast: big names such as Hanks, Susan Sarandon, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Keith David, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, Jim Sturges and Ben Whishaw are all tackling multiple roles in the film. The logic behind this unorthodox maneuver is to better reflect the theme of interconnectivity across time, space, and even ethnicity, as featured through the six separate narrative threads found in Mitchell’s original book (and now, this film adaptation). Hence, we will get to see someone like Grant play multiple characters –  varying from a 19th-century gentlemen to a futuristic cannibal dwelling in the Hawaiian mountaintops.

Conceptual art for 'Cloud Atlas'

While the Wachowskis are more (in)famous for their ambitious projects that failed to live up to expectations (see: the Matrix sequels), Tykwer’s record isn’t perfect either. Though, like those filmmaking siblings, the latter’s “misfires” usually manage to leave an impression (see: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer).

If nothing else, Cloud Atlas seems destined to go down as either a fascinating experiment in grand-scale cinematic storytelling, or a bloated mess that you can’t turn your eyes away from. (Here’s hoping it’s the former.)

To reiterate: Cloud Atlas is tentatively set to arrive in U.S. theaters on December 6th, 2012. We will let you know if that plan changes.

Source: Indiewire