'Cloud Atlas' Pays Sneaky Homage To Elvis Costello

'Cloud Atlas' Elvis Costello homage

Someone involved in the making of Cloud Atlas is a fan of Elvis Costello. In the story thread where publisher Timothy Cavendish (Jim Broadbent) and a group of like-minded seniors plot their escape from the old-folks home where they've been imprisoned, the woman of the group, actress Amanda Walker, introduces herself in one scene as "Veronica Costello."  That alone might not be enough to make a case for Elvis worship, but soon after the introduction the group of conspirators make a toast to "Trust." 'Cloud Atlas' Elvis Costello homage

If you're a Costello fan (like me), you know that "Veronica," from the 1989  album Spike is a song that Elvis wrote — with a little help from his friend Paul McCartney — about his grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimers Disease. (It also happens to be his highest charting single in the U.S.)

Although Veronica Costello in Cloud Atlas seems pretty lucid, but the music video for "Veronica," which I've posted below, was also set in a nursing home, where the white-haired woman of the title is reminiscing about her life.

'Cloud Atlas' Elvis Costello homageI can't find any evidence of who portrayed the elder Veronica in the Costello video, but I spoke to a representative from the London-based talent agency that represents Walker, Michelle Braidman Associates, and she assured me that the actress does not appear in "Veronica."  (Although Walker does bear a slight resemblance to the other Veronica, she's clearly younger.)

As for Trust, it's the name of Costello's fifth album, which he released in 1981. It's also one of his best, although it's several shades more cynical than the righteous heart of Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis' Cloud Atlas. Then again, aren't cynics simply frustrated romantics? Everything is connected.

Follow Frank DiGiacomo on Twitter.

Follow Movieline on Twitter.


  • Else Harbeau says:

    ... And don't forget Costello's 1983 song "Pills and Soap" which could underscore another key moment in the film 😉 I'd credit both as deliberate references by David Mitchell, as Veronica Costello is taken directly from the novel.

  • Mike says:

    Hmmm...how does that line from "Every Day I Write The Book" go? "Even in a perfect world/where everyone was equal/I'd still own the film rights/and be working on the sequel".

    I think EC has been ready for his screen test for a long time...

  • Tom in Minnesota says:

    The name Veronica Costello appears in the book - thus it has to be David Mitchell who is a fan of Elvis Costello, not the film makers. Although the Waichowskis may be fans I suppose.

  • Tom in Minnesota says:

    Oh, and by the way? Costello is Declan McManus' mother's maiden name. That's what actually nails it. Incidently, he says his grandmother inspired the song Veronica, but that her name was not actually Veronica.

  • jctoad says:

    I just saw the movie and caught the Veronica thing. Ain't we smart?

  • Alan says:

    You can certainly see your enthusiasm within the paintings you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.

  • I'm reading the book right now and wanted to see if anyone else thought the name was an EC reference - nice to find this page. Also in the book, shortly after Cavendish meets Veronica Costello, Cavendish bumps his head on a car steering wheel and says "indoor fireworks" went off inside his skull. Perhaps David Mitchell was listening to a lot of 80s Elvis when he wrote the Cavendish section of the book. : )