An epic interview with the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer: From 'Cloud Atlas' to 'Jupiter Ascending'
A huge interview with the trio of filmmakers behind the most ambitious film of the fall
I kept all of Sunday afternoon clear from the moment it was first mentioned as a possible time frame, and I spent pretty much every hour of the Toronto Film Festival building up to Sunday ready and waiting. And when it got pinned down to a specific time, I walked from my hotel to theirs, which was only about ten minutes away, already trying to figure out how to open the conversation. I knew I had an hour, but I also knew that the hour would fly by if things went well, and that I wanted to cover a lot of ground.
The Apple Trailers introduction to the seven minute "Cloud Atlas" trailer from earlier this year was the first real glimpse I'd ever had of Lana Wachowski, and the pink dreads are unmissable when you step into the room. She stood to introduce herself, and greeted me with, "Moriarty, I presume." Andy Wachowski also shook my hand and welcomed me. He was dressed in a Bears jersey, his feet in sandals, his toenails painted black, an imposing figure with an easy laugh as we settled in and I set up my laptop to record our conversation.
I've got a terrible poker face. When I am excited about an interview, the people I'm interviewing are pretty aware of it. There are times listening to myself talk during an interview that I feel like I'm one slightly articulate degree away from "The Chris Farley Show" on SNL in terms of how transparent I am in my own curiosity and enthusiasm.
Finally, I headed into the room where Tom Tykwer was seated with Lana Wachowski on a couch, with chairs for both Andy Wachowski and myself. Tykwer was in black, and I've interviewed him a few times before. He's very sharp, very direct, and I get the feeling sometimes he wishes he could just finish a sentence in German so he could make a point with that extra bit of finesse.
Andy mentioned that he really liked my "Speed Racer" review back when the film was about to come out, and I told him that it is still a big movie in my house. Both of my kids are crazy for it, and the Blu-ray gets at least one or two plays a month. That's heavy rotation for my kids. There are few films that get regular repeat viewings. For Toshi, it was the first time he really adamantly asked to go back to see something again in a theater, and he saw it five times theatrically, three of those times in IMAX. He practically levitated every time we saw it. He would stand in the row next to me, just rigid and totally focused on the screen. He still talks about that as an experience that was important to him.
I told them that I took Toshi to a recent press day for "Jeff Who Lives At Home," and he sat in the room while I did interviews as he often does. When we walked into the room where Susan Sarandon was seated, Toshi went rigid, just like in the theater, and I asked him what he was reacting to. He tried to whisper, but he was very loud as he did so. "Dad… that's Speed Racer's mom!"
Sarandon smiled broadly and practically jumped out of her seat leaning forward towards Toshi as she said, "I am! I am Speed Racer's mom!"
Again… defining moment for the little guy. He thought that was the best. And when I told the Wachowskis, they started laughing, as did Tykwer. I told them that I found it amazing that Toshi has no trouble with the visual language in "Speed Racer" while adults I know had a hard time understanding what they were looking at.
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