After Cloud Atlas's Fantastic Fest debut I caught up with Lana Wachowski at the Alamo Drafthouse's Highball, where she and Andy, AKA Wachowski Starship, were beaming and greeting festgoers. (I'm told they were given a tour of the Highball's private karaoke rooms but didn't partake in Austin's favored pastime.) Conversation landed on Michelle Obama, of course (the two best sets of arms in the biz? Michelle Obama and Lana Wachowski), and that's when Lana dropped a revelation in true Cloud Atlas style: "She went to our high school!" True enough — it happens Chicago's Whitney M. Young High School turned out the First Lady in '81, Lana in '83, and Andy in '86. Everything is connected, indeed. [More from Fantastic Fest...]
“What is an ocean but a multitude of drops?” The affecting spirit of Cloud Atlas was palpable last night as Fantastic Fest unveiled its second Secret Screening — the ambitious sci-fi adaptation — with Lana and Andy Wachowski (“Formerly the Wachowski brothers, now Wachowski Starship,” quipped Andy) making a rare public appearance.
Making its North American premiere next week at Tribeca, director Chris Kenneally's digital-cinema study Side By Side has quite a bit going for it: There's co-producer Keanu Reeves, narrating and leading interviews with an extraordinary range of filmmakers including Christopher Nolan, George Lucas, James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Steven Soderbergh, Lars von Trier and numerous others. There's great technical insight from Oscar-winning cinematographers like Vittorio Storaro, Wally Pfister, Anthony Dod Mantle and Dion Beebe. There's scene-stealers like Joel Schumacher and shooter Geoff Boyle, who encapsulates the digital age with his trenchant summary, "We're fucked." But among all the experts, insights and disclosures herein, there's one appearance in particular that makes Side by Side worth a look: The Wachowskis.
After their Matrix trilogy grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide, Lana (formerly Larry) and Andy Wachowski took some time to explore avenues off the sci-fi blockbuster grid -- by writing a dystopian thriller (V for Vendetta), unsuccessfully adapting Japanese anime for the screen (Speed Racer) and directing A-listers like Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant and Halle Berry in the ambitious, generations-spanning adaptation of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas. At long last though, it seems that the sibling filmmakers are returning to their wheelhouse for a mysterious new project called Jupiter Ascending.