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UPDATED: I've been informed that a batch of set photos appeared online over a week ago, and this is from that set of images. Collider ran a piece, for example, and a lot of the gossip sites appear to have picked it up. I confess that I don't pay attention to unofficial images all the time, and I missed this. Gilliam is not the source of the image, but was merely passing it along. The "news" here, then, is his appearance in the film, giving us a chance to round up what we know about it so far. Some of what we've got to say about the film is not general knowledge so far.
As usual, if you're obsessive about seeing every detail of something, finding a specialized fan site is going to be the best from-the-tap stream of info you'll get.
Now here's the original piece:
One of my favorite films from last year was "Cloud Atlas," and part of what I enjoyed about the film was seeing what happened when Andy and Lana Wachowski collided with Tom Tykwer. That's not a collaboration I would have ever demanded to see, but the results of it were very special, and I'm very glad it happened.
Today, Terry Gilliam posted a photo to his Facebook page showing two extras on the set of "Jupiter Ascending," the new science-fiction action film that the Wachowskis are filming, and he revealed that he'll be playing a bit part of some sort in the movie as well. While this isn't the same scale of collaboration as "Cloud Atlas," just knowing that Gilliam and the Wachowskis are in contact with one another makes me very happy.
Right now, "Jupiter Ascending" is an enigma for most people. The last two films by the Wachowskis have been large-scale experiments, and while I've enjoyed the films, I appreciate that they make very big movies that require very big budgets, and that doesn't happen forever if you can't make money for a studio. To some extent, it feels like "Jupiter Ascending" is a step back for them, a conscious decision to do something that is more like what people expect from them. Then again, I get the feeling after chatting with the Wachowskis last year that they are not terribly concerned about what people expect.
I can tell you that the film has the potential to be heaps of fun. It deals with alien invaders, royal prophecies, genetic mutations, and much more, and it promises some big wild action scenes that include a twist that the Wachowskis hope will be as visually groundbreaking as bullet-time was in "The Matrix." I'm dying to get a look at Channing Tatum in make-up as his character. It should be subtle make-up, but there are some details I'm very curious about. Mila Kunis seems to me to be a perfect collaborator for The Wachowskis, and she should make a great Jupiter for them.
For now, though, I think this might count as our first look at the film. When we spoke about "Jupiter" briefly last year, Andy Wachowski said that the hardest part was coming up with a science-fiction future that didn't look like "The Matrix" and that didn't look like the Neo-Seoul stuff from "Cloud Atlas." Everything had to be approached fresh, and they were still neck-deep in that when we spoke last year. Now they're shooting in London, and I can't wait to see what they come up with.
Here's the full-size photo Terry Gilliam ran along with his quote about it:
Off at dawn tomorrow to pretend to be an actor in the new Wachowski's film, Jupiter Ascending. It's a small but vital part (or so I'm told). Apparently, these guys are in the film as well. I can't wait to meet my hairdresser.
If you want a clue about what the "big idea" is that the Wachowskis are playing with, some of the set reports about a museum shoot hint at things without stating them. I think they're going to try something that could end up being a visual knockout if they can pull it off, and I can't wait 'till the moment where they start having conversations with the press about what they're doing.
"Jupiter Ascending" is set to open in the US on July 25, 2014.