Tom Hanks, Natalie Portman edge closer to Tykwer’s “Cloud Atlas”

By Sean O’Connell File this under “tentative,” as well as “hopeful.”

Tom Hanks, Natalie Portman, James McAvoy, Halle Berry and Ian McKellen are now attached to Tom Tykwer’e potential adaptation of David Mitchell’s dense novel “Cloud Atlas,” a source tells The Playlist. All of the above talent had been rumored to be circling the project, though now it seems to be “official.”

Whatever “official” means, because right now the picture has no studio backing and no financing. But with names like Hanks and Portman attached, those cards could hit the table rather quickly.

The challenge might still be wrestling Mitchell’s story into a filmable script. The book wraps its arms around six individual stories that stretch from the 19th century to a distant, post-apocalyptic future. Mitchell has said the stories touch on reincarnation, as a narrative theme is passed from one protagonist to the next as the story progresses.

But “Cloud” also would have to wait for everyone’s schedules to free up, as the Playlist reports. Tykwer is brining his current film, “Drei,” around the festival circuit. Portman will be promoting Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan.” Hanks has his own directorial effort, “Larry Crowne,” to shepherd over the finish line. And McAvoy just agreed to star in Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men: First Class” as Professor Charles Xavier, which is due in theaters on June 3, 2011.

So while it sounds like “Cloud Atlas” will happen — and with a stunning A-list cast — the question of when it will happen remains unclear.

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