Cloud Atlas: James Darcy & Ben Whishaw Chat

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Cloud Atlas: James Darcy & Ben Whishaw Chat

We chat to James Darcy & Ben Whishaw about Cloud Atlas.

QUESTION: How did it feel to be involved in a film based on this wonderful piece of literature? 

JAMES D’ARCY: I think we both felt pretty fortunate to be asked to be involved in something that obviously was incredibly daring, ambitious, courageous, unexpected and different. I think for us as actors the idea that you’d then be asked to play more than one part in that film is like, “Wow, it’s Christmas. Great.”



QUESTION: What was it like to play so many different characters in one movie?

BEN WHISHAW: Loved it. Actually, it can help sometimes to jump from one character to a completely different character. It sharpens both of them because the differences are clearer, aren’t they? It wasn’t schizophrenic, it wasn’t difficult. It was just enormous fun. We were helped enormously by the fact that we had these incredible make-up designers, Daniel [Parker] and Jeremy [Woodhead] who are spectacularly creative. Costume as well, that was a huge amount of the work really.

QUESTION: Would you say the film is about the human condition and love regardless of historical period? 

JAMES D’ARCY: It’s certainly one of the themes of the film. I think it’s about choices and freedom and interconnectedness and so much more. One of the really nice things about talking about it the last couple of days is that people have very different views of what is important to them, but everybody’s excited to have the conversation.

QUESTION: Was it confusing to have three directors? 

JAMES D’ARCY: It should have been a disaster. It should have been a complete mess to have three directors on two different film units which were sometimes separated in country. Then at other times we were in studios next to each other. It should have been incoherent and chaotic and it was weirdly the opposite; it felt very clearly like we were all rowing in the same direction. That’s because somehow or other Andy [Wachowski], Lana [Wachowski] and Tom [Tykwer] are absolutely connected.

QUESTION: This film feels like a journey through time and space. Did you feel that when you read the script and became part of this movie?

BEN WHISHAW: I think reading the script it was harder to have that sensation of just letting it take you somewhere. It took a lot more brain activity. Whereas I think the film itself is maybe for the few minutes a little uncomfortable because nothing quite adds up, but eventually I think you get lulled into its rhythm. I love that about it. I think that’s the right reaction to have.

QUESTION: In a way I think the historical period is not important. The important thing is that we are all human and we’re all connected. Would you agree with that?

BEN WHISHAW: I think that the film is definitely about how remarkable it is that everyone in the world is different and that we’re all obviously separate from one another and individual and that’s glorious. There’s glorious in our particularity. But we’re also all the same. I find the fact that the film celebrates that in such a playful way, lovely and hopeful, as a gift to audiences.

Cloud Atlas is available to own on Blu-ray and DVD 1st July

Thanks to Juliana.


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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.

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