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How 'Matrix' creators Lana and Andy Wachowski filmed the unfilmable with 'Cloud Atlas'

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An account of the production of "Cloud Atlas," an upcoming film by Lana and Andy Wachowski, creators of 'The Matrix.'

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In 2009, Matrix creators Lana and Andy Wachowski met with director Tom Tykwer to attempt a project they'd been planning for years: adapting Cloud Atlas, a complex and wide-ranging novel that was initially called "unfilmable" by its author. The Wachowskis and Tykwer (perhaps best known for Run Lola Run) linked the many characters together by making several of them — often from different centuries — the same soul traveling through different bodies. The initial draft, which they used to win over author David Mitchell, was constructed by writing the book's scenes on hundreds of index cards and placing them around the house, then picking them up in a different order each day to create new narrative arcs. As the Cloud Atlas nears release, The New Yorker has published an account of its planning, production, and inspiration, primarily "spectacles" from the '60s and '70s like 2001: A Space Odyssey.