Hanks to Star in Adaptation of Literary Jigsaw Puzzle

*Cloud Atlas* author David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell

Fans of British wunderkind prose stylist David Mitchell will be intrigued to learn that Tom Hanks has signed on to play Dr Henry Goose in the movie adaptation of Mitchell’s best-known novel, the wondrous Cloud Atlas. Laurence and Andy Wachowski, who created the Matrix franchise, are producing the film, and the screenplay will be written by the film’s director Tom Tykwer. Tykwer shot to fame in 1998 with the release of German arthouse indie Run, Lola, Run, a film whose structure isn’t unlike that of Mitchell’s novel.

It’s a happy coincidence, as Cloud Atlas is a dizzying intertextual puzzle of six interconnected narratives, each of which is set in a different time, the first in the 19th century and the last two in an imagined future. Moreover, the tales are mirrored: the first five tales are interrupted, so that at the end of the sixth tale the interrupted fifth tale resumes and is completed before the fourth tale is taken up, and so on. The overall effect is that of a hall of mirrors.

Others to have signed on to the project include Halle Berry and Nigerian-born actor Hugo Weaving, so menacingly good in The Matrix. David Mitchell will be in Melbourne next week as a guest of the Wheeler Centre.