A lot of unlikely and possibly wonderful things are about to start happening at Babelsberg Studios in Berlin. For starters, there's going to be a movie of Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell's sprawling, multi-stranded novel often thought to be unfilmable. And it's going to be directed by the Wachowskis, the sibling duo who haven't put out a film since 2008's Speed Racer, but still lay claim to one of the most influential movies of all time thanks to The Matrix. But the Wachowskis aren't the only ones directing- the two will share directing credit with Run Lola Run helmet Tom Tykwer in an unusual arrangement that has the three shooting at the same time using separate film crews.

In some way it seems impossible that this ambitious project is actually getting off the ground, and with a cast that includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, Ben Whishaw and Jim Broadbent, no less. But as THR reports production is finally ramping up to start in mid-September at Babelsberg, the production complex that was home to legendary productions like The Blue Angel and Metropolis in the early days of the German film industry, and more recently hosted Inglourious Basterds and the Wachowskis themselves for V for Vendetta.

And though Cloud Atlas will still be a large and highly anticipated project, the budget will be "definitely lower" than the $120 million or so that we had heard previously. Though it features a lot of stars and the still-solid name of Wachowskis, Cloud Atlas is, after all, a prestigious literary adaptation, and not exactly the slam-dunk blockbuster a studio would automatically sink huge funds into. Though it's been produced independently and funded through some elaborate means, Cloud Atlas has distribution through Focus Features internationally and Warner Bros. domestically, meaning we should be getting a look at this massively intriguing project sometime next year.

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