Tom Hanks could walk the red carpet six times for the six characters he plays in the film. Halle Berry also plays six characters. In fact, pretty much everyone in the cast takes on multiple roles in a story that spans 500 years.
"Cloud Atlas" is based on a best-selling novel. It tells a single story that unfolds in different ways during different times, from the past and into the future, and how it's somehow all connected. The actions, choices and consequences make it a complicated piece of work - even for the people in it.
"It was kind of like a screenplay version of doing your taxes," Hanks said. "You get up to a character, you go over to the beat sheet and say, 'OK, that is not me. All right, now keep going.'"
"They entertained our ideas and we felt very much a part of the process," Berry said. "They gave us room to be, and to be artists in our own rights and create our characters in a way that we felt we could connect to - with their guidance, of course."
Hanks has a tip for viewers who may need a little guidance as the movie unfolds.
"Let it wash over you," he said. "Forget everything you've heard. It's just one movie about six people doing the right thing."
"Cloud Atlas" is rated R. It opens Friday.