From a financing perspective:
- The budget is approximately $100 million, effectively inflated by the fact that (1) Germany offers substantial subsidies, (2) the actors appear to be working at a discount (based on the fact that the production's two parallel units mean that filming can be done in half the time) and (3) there appears to be very little wasting of money (according to Halle Berry, “It’s sort of like guerrilla filmmaking in a way. Even though there seems like there’s a lot of money, it’s not opulent. All the money’s going into the screen”).
- The money was obviously very difficult to raise, but instead of giving up, the producers translated the screenplay into more than half a dozen Asian languages and found that the film’s treatment of reincarnation resonated with potential investors in the East. Essentially, it was "Fascination with the Source Material" that drove investors' decisions. This bodes very well for the film if you ask me.
- According to veteran entertainment lawyer Peter J Dekom, one advantage of disparate financing is that it gives filmmakers greater creative freedom (“The more investors you have, the less control you feel from any one investor”). Wow, so many company law parallels, but I won't go there.
From a film production and speculative persective:
- The Wachowski Brothers are definitely directing the last 2 segments (An Orison of Sonmi~451 and Sloosha's Crossin' an' Evry'thin After).
- Tom Tykwer is definitely directing Letters from Zedelghem.
- Halle Berry is playing "a Jewish woman in the 1930s” and “an old tribal woman”. So, she has a role in Letters from Zedelghem and Sloosha's Crossin' an' Evry'thin After (maybe). However, does this imply that she will not be playing Meronym? Or, does "old tribal woman" refer to The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing, implying in turn that the Wachowskis are directing that segment? I don't know, but my gut tells me that the latter is more likely. My gut also tells me we will get more information soon, so I will wait and see.
From an anticipation perspective:
The Wachowskis are notorious for their secrecy, but they showed six minutes of footage at the American Film Market in Santa Monica last month.
“It looks phantasmagorical,” said Victor Loewy, a seasoned international film distributor who bid on the United Kingdom rights after watching the clip. “It’s so unlike anything I’ve seen in 40 years in this business.”
And finally, from a useless trivia perspective:
It was Natalie Portman who gave a copy of Cloud Atlas to Lana Wachowski on the set of V for Vendetta, thereby introducing him to the subject matter. Needless to say, he liked it. It also explains why Portman was initially attached to play Sonmi~451.