It comes as quite the surprise to hear — so late in the casting game — The Playlist's reports that superstar Matt Damon would be signing onto Christopher Nolan's under-wraps science fiction film Interstellar. More than just surprising, it's suspicious. And the timing, well... it makes us wonder if the whole ordeal didn't go down something like this...
He heard the news just as everyone else had — on Twitter, the information presenting as a sea of varyingly humorous jabs on the subject matter. Ben Affleck, his lifelong pal and secret rival, had been cast as Batman. Matt Damon grew red in the face. He thought he had won. He had just starred in Elysium, a science-fiction blockbuster from the creative mind behind District 9. When the reviews came in lukewarm, Damon became uneasy. "It's okay," he thought. "It's still enough to tide everyone over until my next big move. My own directorial project, something that'll really blow everyone out of the water. After all, Argo wasn't that great." He swallowed nervously as he forced himself to accept these words. "I just have to make sure he doesn't do anything else before I get a chance to — " And before he knew it, it was over. Affleck had been named the next Batman. He had earned the support of Joss Whedon and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Things looked bad. Damon had to do something. Rumors that he might get back in the Jason Bourne game? No, too desperate! (Though let's at least keep 'em guessing for a while.) But what's better than the character of Batman? Maybe the guy who made him cool again in the first place...
Christopher Nolan. Interstellar. That's it. It's perfect. "Casey," Damon practically screamed into his iPhone 8 (a special model that only movie stars have). "How would you like to help me stick it to your brother?" And of course, the junior Affleck — already cast in the complex sci-fi — was on board. A meeting was set up. Damon had a part in the movie. Your move, Mallrats.
But back to reality for a minute. According to The Playlist, Damon's part will be a small one, and is yet undisclosed in nature. Reports add that Damon is considering a script titled A Murder Untold for his directorial debut (a phenomenon we've awaited for quite some time), written by Chris Terrio (that pretty-darn-great-after-all movie Argo). But for now, we'll just sink our teeth into his potential casting in Interstellar, and smile unknowingly as his nefarious ploy ensnares us all...
Author's Note: We do not think that Matt Damon is in any way the sort of resentful, calculating menace illustrated in the above hypothetical scenario. We've actually met him. He was really nice to us. He complimented my tie. We love him.
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Christopher Nolan just celebrated his 43rd birthday, and apparently his gift to himself was to continue casting the entirety of Hollywood in his latest film, Interstellar.
David Oyelowo, of The Help, Red Tails, and the upcoming The Butler, is the latest to join Nolan's massive cast. Additionally, Cloud Atlas actor David Gyasi is also onboard. But at this point, no one is surprised at the new additions to Interstellar, so let's talk about who's not in this movie.
For whatever reason, Nolan seems to be avoiding his usual band of thieves for this next venture. Marion Cotillard and Cillian Murphy are not in this film. Neither is Christian Bale. What? A Christopher Nolan movie without Christian Bale? I know, it's a strange thing to process. But maybe this is a good thing. Nolan seems to be expanding his comfort zone and casting actors that haven't been in every single one of his movies. Yes, Michael Cane is in this one, but that was always a given. Besides, it's not like we're upset by that.
So, congratulations to Oyelowo and Gyasi. Here's to many more Nolan films to come. As for Christian Bale, don't worry about it. He'll get the next one.
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David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas consists of six stories set in various periods between 1850 and a time far into Earth's post-apocalyptic future. Each segment lives on its own the previous first person account picked up and read by a character in its successor creating connective tissue between each moment in time. The various stories remain intact for Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) Lana Wachowski's and Andy Wachowski's (The Matrix) film adaptation which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The massive change comes from the interweaving of the book's parts into one three-hour saga — a move that elevates the material and transforms Cloud Atlas in to a work of epic proportions.
Don't be turned off by the runtime — Cloud Atlas moves at lightning pace as it cuts back and forth between its various threads: an American notary sailing the Pacific; a budding musician tasked with transcribing the hummings of an accomplished 1930's composer; a '70s-era investigatory journalist who uncovers a nefarious plot tied to the local nuclear power plant; a book publisher in 2012 who goes on the run from gangsters only to be incarcerated in a nursing home; Sonmi~451 a clone in Neo Seoul who takes on the oppressive government that enslaves her; and a primitive human from the future who teams with one of the few remaining technologically-advanced Earthlings in order to survive. Dense but so was the unfamiliar world of The Matrix. Cloud Atlas has more moving parts than the Wachowskis' seminal sci-fi flick but with additional ambition to boot. Every second is a sight to behold.
The members of the directing trio are known for their visual prowess but Cloud Atlas is a movie about juxtaposition. The art of editing is normally a seamless one — unless someone is really into the craft the cutting of a film is rarely a post-viewing talking point — but Cloud Atlas turns the editor into one of the cast members an obvious player who ties the film together with brilliant cross-cutting and overlapping dialogue. Timothy Cavendish the elderly publisher could be musing on his need to escape and the film will wander to the events of Sonmi~451 or the tortured music apprentice Robert Frobisher also feeling the impulse to run. The details of each world seep into one another but the real joy comes from watching each carefully selected scene fall into place. You never feel lost in Cloud Atlas even when Tykwer and the Wachowskis have infused three action sequences — a gritty car chase in the '70s a kinetic chase through Neo Seoul and a foot race through the forests of future millennia — into one extended set piece. This is a unified film with distinct parts echoing the themes of human interconnectivity.
The biggest treat is watching Cloud Atlas' ensemble tackle the diverse array of characters sprinkled into the stories. No film in recent memory has afforded a cast this type of opportunity yet another form of juxtaposition that wows. Within a few seconds Tom Hanks will go from near-neanderthal to British gangster to wily 19th century doctor. Halle Berry Hugh Grant Jim Sturgess Jim Broadbent Ben Whishaw Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon play the same game taking on roles of different sexes races and the like. (Weaving as an evil nurse returning to his Priscilla Queen of the Desert cross-dressing roots is mind-blowing.) The cast's dedication to inhabiting their roles on every level helps us quickly understand the worlds. We know it's Halle Berry behind the fair skinned wife of the lunatic composer but she's never playing Halle Berry. Even when the actors are playing variations on themselves they're glowing with the film's overall epic feel. Jim Broadbent's wickedly funny modern segment a Tykwer creation that packs a particularly German sense of humor is on a smaller scale than the rest of the film but the actor never dials it down. Every story character and scene in Cloud Atlas commits to a style. That diversity keeps the swirling maelstrom of a movie in check.
Cloud Atlas poses big questions without losing track of its human element the characters at the heart of each story. A slower moment or two may have helped the Wachowskis' and Tykwer's film to hit a powerful emotional chord but the finished product still proves mainstream movies can ask questions while laying over explosive action scenes. This year there won't be a bigger movie in terms of scope in terms of ideas and in terms of heart than Cloud Atlas.