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.
The TV veteran first rose to fame in 1982 as a crime fighter in Knight Rider, later riding the wave of success to become a lead character in long-running beachside drama Baywatch, which premiered in 1989.
After spending more than four decades in the business, Hasselhoff has developed a new fan base with guest turns in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, teen adventure film Eurotrip and Adam Sandler's Click.
In honour of Hasselhoff's big day, WENN has compiled a list of 10 fun facts to commemorate his major milestone.
- Hasselhoff, who is of German descent, has a large following in the country although he doesn't speak the native language. For all German TV shows and movies, his dubbing is completed by actor Andreas von der Meden, who also voices The Muppets' Kermit the Frog.
- He is an outdoor sports enthusiast - the adrenaline-loving star's hobbies include scuba diving, racing cars and white water rafting. He's also parachuted with the U.S. Army Parachute Demonstration Team and flown with The Blue Angels of the U.S. Navy.
- Hasselhoff launched a successful side career as a singer in Europe during the 1980s with breakthrough single Looking for Freedom and he was invited to perform the track on the Berlin Wall on New Year's Eve in 1989 after being named the Most Popular and Best Selling Artist of the Year in Germany.
- He made his Broadway debut as the titular character in Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical in 1995. He has since performed in a number of other stage shows, including Grease, Jesus Christ Superstar and The Rocky Horror Show.
- The actor, who played lifeguard Mitch Buchannon on Baywatch, became a real-life hero after he saved a two-year-old girl from drowning in Malibu, California while at a beach photo shoot in 1995. He also rescued an unconscious car-crash victim in Los Angeles that same year.
- In 2010, Hasselhoff was the the subject of a Comedy Central Roast hosted by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. Wrestler Hulk Hogan and his Baywatch co-stars Pamela Anderson and Traci Bingham also poked fun at the Hoff.
- He originally held the Guinness Book of World Records title for The Most Watched TV Star in the World but House actor Hugh Laurie stole his crown last year (11).
- Hasselhoff loves reality television - he judged America's Got Talent for four years, beginning in 2006, participated in U.S. programme Dancing With the Stars in 2010, presided over the panel of Britain's Got Talent in 2011 and earlier this year (12) competed in Celebrity Apprentice Australia.
- The actor has two grown daughters with ex-wife Pamela Bach - Taylor Ann, 22, and Hayley, 19, an aspiring actress.
- He graduated from Lyons Township High School in La Grange, Illinois in 1970 and a plaque with his photo now hangs on display in the main corridor. Hasselhoff was a member of his school's speech team, president of the choir, and captain of the volleyball team.
After it was announced in January of 2010 that David Hasselhoff was leaving his spot at the judges table on America's Got Talent, it was reported that he was too busy to participate on the NBC show because he pursuing his own reality show. The Los Angeles Times confirmed the news that the Baywatch star had, in fact, landed a spot in A&E's programming, where cameras would follow him as he works to help his daughters (Taylor-Ann and Hayley) get their singing careers started. However, rumors that Hasselhoff's problem with alcohol was the real reason why he left America's Got Talent, and the still nonexistence of such a show on A&E only strengthened the suspicion that a drinking problem remained.
The Hoff's future perked up when he was cast as a judge on Britain's Got Talent in December of 2010, and of the new job, Hasselhoff said, "I'm a massive fan of Britain's Got Talent and am extremely excited to be a judge on the new series. I was so thrilled when Simon Cowell asked me that I immediately wanted to run into Ant and Dec's arms to celebrate." But unfortunately things must have gone south because today, we learned that Hoff has been let go from his position on the show. An insider told Perez Hilton, "David was a great booking at the time. We thought he'd bring loads of laugh and warmth but it didn't work out. He was fun but had no connection with the acts. The panel lacked sparkle and it was reflected in the acts that went through." The insider added that additional reasons for why the show felt a little out-of-whack was because David had problems understanding the contestants' accents, and the acts that the judges praised "were below par."
So what's next for the Hoff? As weird as it is to say, he can pretty much do anything. Lord knows he's certainly got a jacket for it all.
Click the photo below to view more photos of David Hasselhoff!
Sources: People, Perez Hilton, Guardian, Daily Mail, LAT
The Baywatch star's offspring Taylor-Ann and Hayley are currently on a promo trek of Britain to boost awareness of their group Bella Vida's debut single Kiss Kiss Me Bang Bang.
The pair donned saucy outfits at the U.K. capital's G-A-Y nightspot on Saturday night (20Aug11), and gave fans a surprise treat by introducing their famous father on to the stage.
And Hasselhoff gave a nod to his former co-star Pamela Anderson - by gyrating around three transvestites wearing the blonde bombshell's iconic red swimsuit while singing a collection of his own tracks.
The Baywatch star's girls Taylor-Ann and Hayley urged their famous dad to appear as himself in the 2004 animated film, and Hasselhoff admits the project gained him new fans.
He tells Britain's OK! TV, "I got an offer to do a cameo in the SpongeBob movie and I turned to my girls, who were like 16 and 14, and I said, 'Who's SpongeBob?' and they said, 'Oh my God, Dad, it's the number one cartoon in the world, you gotta do it.'
"It was great fun and to this day around the world kids stop me and say, 'Are you David Hasselhoff?' because I was the only human in the picture.
"It's amazing - so many of the kids were so young and didn't see Baywatch and Knight Rider so I got a whole new legion of fans."
The Baywatch star hit headlines in 2007 when the clip, shot by his then-teenage daughter Taylor-Ann, leaked online. It depicted the drunk actor ranting and struggling to eat a burger off the floor of his hotel room.
The home video appeared on several websites including the online version of U.K. newspaper the Daily Mail, which prints a column written by Morgan.
Hasselhoff, who has since tackled his alcohol addiction, became emotional as he challenged Morgan over the incident during an appearance on U.K. series Piers Morgan's Life Stories.
He told Morgan, "I'd never seen (the video)... And it was put out for money. It was put on websites, including your own. And that hurt my feelings. 'Cause I thought you and I had a personal relationship. And it hurt my feelings."
Morgan replied, "I understood that... This is the Daily Mail website, which I do a column for. I didn't know they were putting it up there but you told me."
Hasselhoff added, "I guess it goes with the territory but the sad part about it is that no one gives a damn about me being an alcoholic or my daughter. They give a damn about a pay cheque."
But the 58 year old later proved he had resolved his differences with Morgan by taking to his Twitter.com page and writing, "Piers Morgan and I butt heads (in the interview)! I'm calling it 'When w**kers attack'... Thanks you Piers!!"
The Baywatch star was married to actress Catherine Hickland in the 1980s and after their divorce, he went on to exchange vows with Pamela Bach, the mother of his two daughters, Taylor Ann and Hayley. They split in 2006 after 16 years of marriage.
Hasselhoff, who is now dating Welsh model Hayley Roberts, admits he never imagined he would end up twice-divorced and desperately hopes to avoid further heartache.
He tells Britain's Sunday Express, "I want to be in love. I always try to make it last. I tried (for) 16 years to make my last marriage work but it's up to God, it really is... If you are meant to be together it will work. I would get married again though, sure. I love marriage. I felt guilty my marriages did not work.
"I have always enjoyed being with one person... I am incredibly romantic."
The Baywatch legend hit headlines in 2007 when a film of him trying to eat a burger on the floor of his Las Vegas hotel room leaked on the internet.
In the clip, his then-teenage daughter Taylor-Ann, who shot the video, could be heard saying, "Tell me you are going to stop, tell me you are going to stop."
Hasselhoff has previously admitted the tape was the wake up call he needed to face up to his alcohol addiction, and now he's revealed he enjoys a better relationship with Taylor-Ann and her sister Hayley because of the incident.
The actor tells Britain's The Sun, "The best part about it was what it did for my children. So many children called and said that their mum and dad are just like that. They asked, 'What do we do?'
"It gave my children a great place to say, 'Hey, you just love them because we love my dad more than anything and it brought us closer to each other.' And in the end it's a video. Who cares, you know? I am still here.
"In the end a lot of people who saw that video laughed at it, most of the people that saw that video see themselves."
The Baywatch legend hit the headlines when film footage of him drunkenly trying to eat a burger on the floor of his Las Vegas hotel room leaked on the internet.
In the clip, his then-teenage daughter Taylor-Ann, who shot the video, could be heard saying, "Tell me you are going to stop, tell me you are going to stop."
Hasselhoff admits he had been struggling with a booze problem for years and had lost control of his life - until the embarrassing footage turned his private battle into a public one.
But he refused to get angry about the viral leak and instead saw it as a sign from above.
He tells People magazine, "Although I was working, I was a complete, absolute runaway train with no control over anything. Thanks to the tape, I realised this was a problem that I needed to deal with.
"When I found out about the tape, I was overcome with an amazing sense of calm. God was basically saying, 'It's time to stop'. I knew why Taylor did it: she was afraid for me. I said, 'That's pretty cool that my daughter loves me to say, 'Dad, this is what you look like. We're scared.' End of story."
Hasselhoff has been hospitalised on three occasions since 2009, reportedly linked to alcohol poisoning, and he reveals his fight for sobriety is a daily one after suffering a number of relapses.
However, the 58 year old insists he is committed to staying clean.
He says, "It's a day at a time and I'm proud of today. It's almost as if I want to go out and have fun like everybody else, but every time I do, I end up in a resort called Cedars-Sinai... (Los Angeles hospital). But I bounce back in two days and get back on my horse.
"It's not about falling. It's how fast you get up. You can count on me getting up. Hasselhoffs don't duck, we say, 'Bring it on!'"
The former Baywatch star was announced as one of the contestants for the forthcoming show on Monday (30Aug10), alongside Jennifer Grey, Audrina Patridge and Michael Bolton.
He turned down a last-minute place on the series because of the "insane" pain he experienced while performing onstage in the West End - but his daughters Taylor Ann and Hayley urged him to don his dancing shoes once again.
Hasselhoff says, "I wasn't going to do it, then I heard someone fell out and my daughters said, 'Come on dad'.
"I said no for a long time and my daughters kept convincing me: 'Dad, you always tell us you've got to go for it'. I always said, 'No, it's not my forte, there's a lot of pain involved!'"
"The pain I went through (in the West End) was insane and I was terrified right until opening night when I was jumping out of an airplane. So I'm looking at this, like, grab a dance partner, strap on and jump out of a plane. Hopefully we'll land safely!"
The season premiere hits screens in the U.S. on 20 September (10).