One of the smaller issues raised in our '5 Big Questions for Movie Geeks in 2012' concerned whether Cloud Atlas would redeem co-directors Andy and Lana Wachowski, following on the heels of the tedious Matrix sequels (Revolutions more than Reloaded) and their love-it-or-hate-it Speed Racer experiment.
Atlas proved to be an enthralling movie experience; though, one that's neither universally-beloved nor been widely-seen. Nonetheless, that cinematic symphony has us enthused to see the siblings' new project: an original 3D science-fiction film titled Jupiter Ascending.
Leaked Jupiter Ascending plot details reveal the story takes place in a futuristic world - where humans are at the bottom of the evolutionary ladder - controlled by 'evolved beings' who possess strands of animal DNA that heighten desirable traits. However, it turns out an ordinary woman (Mila Kunis) possesses the same 'perfect' genetic makeup of the Queen of the Universe - and so, a bounty hunter (Channing Tatum) is dispatched to assassinate her.
Variety says that Eddie Redmayne has entered talks to join the Jupiter Ascending cast, for a role currently being kept under-wraps. The 30-year old Redmayne has garnered accolades for his work in period dramas like Starz' The Pillars of the Earth mini-series and corset dramas Elizabeth: The Golden Age and The Other Boleyn Girl. He graduated to leading man status in My Week with Marilyn, but ended up being overshadowed by that Hollywood memoir's leading lady.
Redmayne once again appears alongside big-names in next week's Golden Globe-nominated Les Misérables; however, he's managed to secure more attention this time around, as illustrated by early reactions to the musical that single out his performance. Similarly, Redmayne was short-listed for the Amazing Spider-Man sequel; that is, before the Harry Osborn role went to rising star Dane DeHaan instead.
Many of the Wachowskis' favorites themes are inherent to the Jupiter Ascending storyline, so it should be interesting to see how this particular allegory about rising against the-powers-that-be compares to their previous creations. As mentioned before, the project is being shot for 3D; whether that means the Wachowskis are using 3D cameras or designing the film with that format in mind, is not clear.
Either way, it's encouraging to see the trend of filmmakers having the opportunity to pursue original sci-fi content - as in, material that draws inspiration from past genre works, but builds on that cultural foundation (rather than recycles its ideas). Four projects that fit that bill arrive in 2013, including: Joseph Kosinski's Oblivion, M. Night Shyamalan's After Earth, Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim and Neil Blomkamp's Elysium.
Meanwhile, people such as the Wachowskis (with Jupiter Ascending) and Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister (with Transcendence) aim to keep that movement alive after next year. It's a good time, for fans of visually-splendorous and thought-provoking sci-fi fare.
Jupiter Ascending is expected to begin production in the first quarter of 2013. We will let you know when it has an official release date.