The Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell on seeing his “unfilmable” novel altered “with great ingenuity” in its path to the screen (via Omnivoracious):
My book resembles a nest of Russian Dolls. Each of the six novellas that make up the book is “interrupted” by its successor, not unlike The Arabian Nights. After the central story is told in its entirety the novel delivers the “Part Twos” of the interrupted novellas in reverse order, boomeranging back into the past. Novels being baggy, mercurial beasties, Cloud Atlas the book gets away with this structure, but a film that asked its viewers to begin six times – the sixth time over an hour into the story – would implode, and only the hardest core über-viewer could stay for the duration. Structurally, then, the directors have opted for a ‘mosaic’, which splices and intersperses the six narratives, set between the 1850s and the 24th century (roughly). The directors then glue this mosaic together with great ingenuity.